Israel (MNN) — Birthdays and anniversaries are typically happy occasions. However, for the people of Israel, it's a time of tension and uncertainty. That tension is clear as Israel celebrates its 63rd anniversary.
Tom Doyle with E3 Partners is there. He says while Israelis call it their anniversary, Arabs call it the "Nakba," or the tragedy. So the Israeli defense forces have prepared for the worst — a multi-nation effort to attack Israel. And Doyle says that's what happened. "People stormed the fence coming from southern Lebanon trying to get into Israel. People stormed the gate from the Golan Heights in Syria. We know at least 12 people that were killed in that confrontation. And then also, things started to erupt in the West Bank."
Civil unrest has been erupting in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen recently. Doyle says, "Israel is concerned that it could spread here. The hope is that all of this will quell and back down, because any kind of sustained protest period could get ugly. Then you start thinking: if it really gets too far, you have a regional war on our hands."
Doyle was in Israel for two reasons. The first was to take a medical team into the West Bank. "We find that a great opportunity to show the love of Christ, to share the EvangeCube and share the Gospel. And we did see people pray to receive Christ, so we're thrilled about that."
Secondly, Doyle was there to speak at the Epicenter Conference that is taking place in Jerusalem at King of Kings Congregation. There are Jewish believers, Palestinian believers, and even some Iranian believers present, too. Doyle says, "It just goes to show that the only solution to this conflict will not come from the political arena but from the spiritual arena. Jesus is the only one that can bring Jews, Arabs, and Iranians together."
Messianic Jews in Israel are facing persecution, says Doyle. One pastor's face is on posters on the streets "showing that he's out there proselytizing, is what they say. So he's a common criminal to many of the Orthodox Jews. One Orthodox man said, 'You know, Muslims can only kill our body, but you're trying to steal our soul.'"
The situation is sad. "To think that they cannot see any way conceivable that a Jew can follow Jesus — the Jewish Savior, the Jewish Messiah, and still retain their 'Jewishness.'"
Doyle is asking Christians to pray for fellow-believers who are working in Israel and Palestinian-held areas.
E3 Partners is working all over the Middle East, and Doyle says the great news is that God is at work. "Muslims have been showing up late at night at house churches, where the believers are worshipping. They open the door and there are 2 to 5 Muslims there saying, 'Can we come join you? Can we hear what you have to say?' And through that, Muslims are coming to Christ."
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