Israel (MNN) — Violence is picking up again in Egypt following the announcement of ex-President Mohamed Morsi’s court date. Lebanon and Jordan are tense as each nation deals with Syria’s overflow of fighting and refugees.
With neighboring countries in crisis mode, where does that leave Israel? E3 Partners’ Tom Doyle is there.
“We’ve been talking to both Jews and Arabs, and they feel the stress and the pressure — the vice grip — of what’s happening around them in Syria and Egypt, and Iran,” says Doyle.
Earlier this week, the U.S. announced plans to curtail annual military and financial support it sends to Egypt until democratic progress is made.
“Christians in Egypt are scratching their head and saying, ‘We wish this would’ve happened when Morsi was in power and the Muslim Brotherhood was burning churches and persecuting Christians, and nothing was happening’,” Doyle shares.
The cut of U.S. aid to Egypt isn’t forecasted to decrease their military effectiveness. But it does have some Israeli leaders concerned, according to the Associated Press.
In a recent article, the AP quotes Israel’s Homeland Defense Minister Gilad Erdan as saying, “I hope this decision by the United States will not have an effect and won’t be interpreted as something that should have an effect” on the 1979 peace accord.
The 34-year old treaty ended decades of hostility between Israel and Egypt, and started the ball rolling for diplomatic and commercial cohesion. It was the first peace agreement Israel signed with an Arab nation, and resulted in Egypt being suspended from the Arab League.
The deal also arranged for Egypt to receive billions in U.S. financial aid. The United States’ decision to cut this aid could result in backlash on U.S.-ally Israel, states Eli Shaked, a former Isareli ambassador to Egypt.
Though trouble flares on every side, Doyle says there are some encouraging signs in Israel.
“The Lord’s moving here in Israel among Jews and Arabs, bringing them together in a spirit of unity under the banner of Jesus Christ,” he states.
Jews and Palestinians have been at-odds since 1948, when the United Nations voted to partition Palestine and Israel declared itself an independent nation. Conflict immediately ensued between Israel and Palestine and continues to this day, with surrounding Arab neighbors siding with Palestine.
“It seems like there’s often two targets of fundamentalist Islam in the Middle East: the Church and Israel,” Doyle notes.
But, Messianic Jews in Israel and Palestinian believers are bridging the societal gap. A man recently told Doyle he’s training fellow Palestinian believers to reach out to Jewish people with the Gospel. They’re also encouraging Jewish Messianic churches to share the Good News with Palestinians.
At the same time, a Messianic Jewish leader told Doyle people of Arab background come to their church regularly. He said they have “sweet fellowship time together.”
As unrest continues in the Middle East, please keep Israel in your prayers.
Doyle says, “I think our prayer for Israel would be that the world could see [peace can only occur] when people come to faith in Christ.”
To learn more about E3 Partners and their work in the Middle East, click here to visit their website.