(Jerusalem, Israel) — “We have no territorial disputes with Iran,” noted Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon in an address to nearly 300 evangelical Christians here in the Holy Land as part of a Joshua Fund prayer & vision trip. “So why do Western leaders believe territorial compromise by Israel will appease them?”
General Ya’alon — who served from 2002 to 2005 as the Israeli Defense Forces’ chief of staff — pointed to “Iranian fingerprints” on arms shipments and terrorist actions in recent years in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and most recently in Yemen. He warned that Iran is rapidly acquiring the technical capacity to build nuclear weapons. In light of such dangerous developments, he urged the West to wake up to the danger and gain the “moral clarity and strategic clarity” needed to confront Iran successfully.
“We have a couple of disputes with the American administration,” he conceded, alluding to the fact that only 4% of Israelis now believe President Obama is pro-Israel, compared to 88% of Israelis who believed President George W. Bush was on the side of the Jewish State. “They [in the White House] believe in engagement and negotiations with Iran. But this approach is perceived by extremists as weakness.” He described 1979 as the beginning of a “new wave of jihadism” sweeping the Middle East, in which Iranian leaders began exporting “a vision of imposing Islam all over the world [and] defeating Western civilization, the infidels.”
“We believe there is a way to defeat the Iranian regime without immediately resorting to the military option,” said Ya’alon, who is widely known in Israel for being a tough, no nonsense military expert and right-of-center politically. He called for the West to impose crippling economic sanctions on Iran, as well as isolating the nation diplomatically. But also noted quite emphatically: “Without defeating the Iranian regime — not the people, but the regime — there is no way to bring peace and stability to the region.”
“We’re waiting for the [Obama] administration to come to the same conclusion,” Ya’alon added, just days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama at the White House amidst growing tensions between the two leaders and their respective governments.
Ya’alon thanked The Joshua Fund and evangelical Christians around the world for standing with Israel and the Jewish people. He also urged those assembled at the breakfast gathering in Jerusalem to go home and speak out and stand up for Israel’s right to self-defense and the right of the Jewish people to have and protect one Jewish state in the world. The audience gave him three standing ovations, one as he took the stage, one after he finished his remarks, and a third after he answered a few of my questions.
[I’ll post more details on The Joshua Fund’s prayer & vision trip through Israel soon, including six projects we did to bless the poor and needy in the Land, and my meetings with Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin and separately with Israeli Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar. On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be hosting our first-ever Jerusalem Prayer Summit. During this time, we’ll be praying for wisdom for the Prime Minister and Israeli leaders as they confront Iran and try to improve U.S.-Israeli relations; praying for the peace of Jerusalem and the safety of all people in the region; praying for enough resources to continue caring for the poor and needy; praying for reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians; and praying for encouragement for the believers in the region. We would be grateful if you would join us in prayer at this critical hour. Thanks so much, and sorry for not posting all week until now.]
* If you would like to learn more about The Joshua Fund, or make a tax deductible contribution of $50, $100, $250 or more to help provide food, clothing, medical supplies and other aid to the needy in the epicenter, please visit www.joshuafund.net.
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NOTE: A few of my readers have expressed concern that I’ve agreed to speak at the “Break Forth 2010” conference in Edmonton, Canada from January 29-31 because there are some other speakers slated to attend whose theology is questionable. The chief concern that has been raised revolves around William Paul Young, author of The Shack, a very controversial novel that I and some evangelical Bible leaders have found heretical. (For examples, see Dr. Norman Geisler’s article, “The Shack: Helpful or Heretical?”; Michael Youssef’s “Thirteen Heresies in The Shack“; and Dr. Albert Mohler’s, “A Look At The Shack”] The reason I am attending is because it is the largest Christian conference in Canada (some 15,000 are expected to attend), I believe the Holy Spirit wanted me to accept the invitation, and I’m not ready to concede such ground to those who are peddling false teaching. I’ve been asked to come and teach the Word of God and preach the gospel and that’s what I intend to do. I can’t explain why Young, for example, was invited. But why cede the entire stage to him? Moreover, at this critical juncture, I hope to explain why the God of the Bible loves Israel so much and why He wants us to help mobilize a global movement of true believers to stand with Israel while so much of the rest of the world turns against her. Thanks for your concerns. I would appreciate your prayers. God bless you.