Oasis Newsletter

Oasis Volume 23, Issue 12

 

…So striking it almost felt staged

dentists equipment

By Hannah Tekle

Arab-Israeli Dental Clinic in War Time

We waited impatiently outside the dentist office. “He’ll be right back,” the secretary had promised us when we arrived.

After a few minutes Dr. Basel appeared, holding a supermarket bag bursting with treats and snacks. The little girl holding his hand grinned from ear to ear. He welcomed us in a warm and relaxed way as if we had come to visit him at his home in Nazareth and not at his elegantly styled modern clinic in the middle of suburban “Kriyot” where I live.

Once we were inside the treatment room, an assistant came in. While she responded to his wordless sign-language request for the tools he needed, the white haired Arab-Israeli dentist explained:

“She’s only been here for 6 months from Ukraine, a [Jewish] war refugee. She doesn’t yet speak Hebrew, so we don’t have a common language, but we understand each other perfectly.”

Dr. Basel had agreed to employ this dental assistant whom the other [Jewish] clinics had not wanted. The little girl, who we had speculated was his granddaughter, was actually the Ukrainian assistant’s daughter, and his grandfatherly concern was only that she enjoy the ice cream he had bought for her. 

While the TV in the waiting room buzzed quietly with ongoing war news, the Arab and Jewish staff moved about the clinic purposefully as clients came in and out, receiving service and warm attention from Dr. Basel. As my daughter was being treated, I chatted with the other dental assistant, a Muslim woman also from Nazareth. We joked about the crazy traffic in Nazareth, and she warmly recommended that we visit while the town is garbed in full Christmas attire. 

Walking out of the clinic at the end of the last treatment, I thanked Irena the Jewish secretary and Ismahan, the Arab assistant. The feeling of community and cultural collectivity was tangible. 

Social media and news feeds tell us that this is a war between “us” and “them,” between Jews and Arabs; but regular day-to-day Israeli life proves otherwise. While social justice is far from perfect in our tiny country, democracy is alive and well and is shining even brighter against the darkness revealed on October 7th. The casualties we are mourning and the heroes we are celebrating, cover the gamut of Israeli demographics. Among the kidnapped are: Sephardic and Ashkenazi; Jewish, Muslim and Christian; religious and secular; native born Jews and Arabs; and international migrant workers. What the world doesn’t understand is that our daily lives as Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs are inextricably intertwined – like two gnarly vines whose stems have grown in and around each other. Avoiding engagement and interaction between Jews and Arabs here in Israel would be ridiculous, impossible. We live, study and work together in peace. Is it perfect? No. Is there resentment on occasion? Yes. Could it be better? Yes. However, Israeli society is one that is always seeking to make things better. Do we enjoy and engage in one another’s traditions? Yes.

This war is not about us and them. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. This war is about evil forces working against peace and freedom, working against divinely-inspired mutual honor and respect native to this area of the world. This war is about the enemy’s incessant attempt to derail God’s plan for all the world to be blessed through Abraham. 

Children’s Dichotomy

In the first weeks of the war, school was cancelled. And then gradually, kids were sent back to school or diverted to online learning by areas: red (unsafe/evacuated areas), yellow (caution areas) or green (safe areas). Initially our area was yellow and the kids settled into remote study from home – “Covid style”. Overhearing my son’s 10th grade language class from the computer, I noticed the teacher ask about the human complexities of the war and urge the kids to explore their own thoughts and opinions. “The poor innocent civilians in Gaza are not to blame for the atrocities of the Hamas. We as a nation have a right and a duty to defend our citizens,” she said and prodded them to offer their own thoughts in a well-reasoned opinion composition. In those first weeks we were barely turning the news

off throughout the day, and the piece airing just then, happened to show how anti-Semitic, hate propaganda is taught systematically to the children in Gaza. The difference was so striking it almost felt staged. I was simultaneously sad for my son and the young generation who have to engage in such a complex reality – and yet immeasurably proud to belong to a country that holds human life so precious that we risk our own safety and freedom to protect innocent civilians in Gaza while defending ourselves. And at the same time we educate our children to that end. 

Two Expressions

The dental clinic visit and the children’s dichotomy bring to mind two expressions thrown around a lot currently in Israeli society: “Hatred for no reason” (sin’at hinam) and “Love for no reason” (ahavat hinam).  In Genesis God promises Abraham that “in [him] all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). We know that the fulfillment of this verse is ultimately realized in the person of Yeshua who embodies entirely the expression “Love for no reason.” 

The scenario here in the Middle East, here in southern Israel and Gaza; is impossible on every level, the suffering horrendous. However, the divine plan will not be deterred. Through Abraham’s seed all nations of the world will be blessed. The victory won on Calvary will be revealed.

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers!


Bringing Love to our Soldiers and the Displaced

Thank you for your warm and generous response in Israel’s time of
need. You have made it possible for Tents of Mercy to do so much
already!


God's Response to Enemy Threats

By Guy Cohen

As a boy growing up in the Israeli Orthodox Jewish school system, every morning we would sing Moses’ “Song of the Sea” from Exodus 15. For the last few days, the words spoken by the Enemy in verse 9 have been on my mind:

“The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil; My desire shall be satisfied on them.
I will draw my sword, My hand shall destroy them.’”

The next verses state God’s response. When we are under the Lord’s protection, the plans of the enemy will sink into the sea:

“You blew with Your wind, The sea covered them;
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
…You in Your mercy have led forth
The people whom You have redeemed;
You have guided them in Your strength
To Your holy habitation.
The people will hear and be afraid;
Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia.

[Modern day Gaza occupies the very same strip of coastland as Philistia.]

Throughout history, Satan has incited nations to violence against Israel. Since October 7th, Israel has over 1200 dead, over 5,000 wounded and 240 hostages. At first it appeared as if the enemy was 100% successful in its surprise attack. However, Israel stopped the incursion and went on the offensive. It is now Israel’s duty to return the innocent hostages taken from the place where they should have been safe and secure, their lives and homes violated.

My brothers, it appears that here in the Middle East the rules are different than in the rest of the world. Peace can only be achieved after you have been victorious over your enemy. Moreover, I believe that any peace which comes after this war is still only temporary.

Israel has invaded Gaza with the goal of destroying every obstacle just as David did in order to free all who were taken by the Amalekites in Ziklag. [By the way Ziklag is at the edge of the area invaded by Hamas on October 7.]

We will go after every captive in the way that Abraham took back Lot, his nephew from the hands of the ten kings. It was not a negotiation of kind words, but a tactical invasion of the enemy camp (Genesis 14:14-16).

Israel understood then and now that we need to go in and bring our precious ones home. Even though we know the price will be heavy. This war will not be short because there is an even bigger enemy waiting on our northern border. Although we continue to battle on our southern front in Gaza, we must not let down our guard. We must remain sharp, keeping our eyes not only on the northern border but on all of the surrounding seven nations that are waiting for the moment of our weakness.

Please pray for us to be able to strengthen the believers and show God’s love to our community. Israel’s citizens are going through hard times – with husbands, sons and daughters serving on the front lines, daily rocket sirens and the fear of another ground invasion. Pray that we will succeed in bringing comfort to His People.


War Report

collage

By Leon Mazin

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Messiah Yeshua,

Shalom! As you know the war in Israel is still going on. We are doing various things related to the current situation in our country.

With over 300,000 IDF reservists called up there is a need for hot meals, essentials, hygiene products and other things in the army. Every week members of our congregation, with the help of donations from overseas friends, buy the soldiers needed items and make hot meals for them.

Recently we hosted an unusual workshop at our ministry center. This time the speakers shared neither biblical truths nor Israeli history. War dictates new topics and new goals. Tourniquets and medical kits were the main visual aids for this workshop. Young volunteers from the US shared their professional medical knowledge and invited all the participants to practice after the theoretical lesson. We hope that the knowledge gained will save lives in the future.

Shavei Tzion also continues to provide hot meals for people who live in a nearby home for the elderly. Some have no families here in Israel, and they are happy to have tasty homemade food once a week. It is blessing to bless them as well as new immigrants from Ukraine, Russia and other countries who keep arriving.

We are also happy to inform you that our new daughter congregation “Living Light” recently planted in a Haifa suburb is now holding services. We are sure that it will bring light, hope, God’s love, and truth to its surroundings. We ask you to pray for them to bring much fruit and glory to our Heavenly Father.

Your prayers and intercession are needed and appreciated. Please pray for our government and army, for the hostages to return home as soon as possible, and especially for the soldiers from “Shavei Zion” as we believe that for their sake God will protect and save the lives of those who are fighting together with them (Acts 27:23-24).


 “See, darkness covers the earth and thick fog is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” (Isaiah 60:2)

During these weeks of war we see how the fog of fake news, anti-Semitism, rumors and uncertainty hinder truth. We live in northern Israel, where there have been fewer sirens and rockets. Nevertheless, the rumors of war approaching in the north are not comforting. The United States has been greatly supportive, even stationing two aircraft carriers and a submarine nearby to frighten our enemies. But fanatics are not easily intimidated, especially religious fanatics wanting to gain glory and paradise.

Questions without answers abound. Will we really topple Hamas’ rule? What about the hostages? How will the families of the many victims rebuild their lives? What were Hamas leaders thinking? Their desire to provoke conflict has created a scenario in which their fellow Gazans are suffering greatly. Unfortunately, to my horror, innocents are paying the price of our war to uproot Hamas.

God, comfort your people! Cause all men to fear You. Cause truth to triumph.

“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you…

“All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all.

“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:8-16)


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