Pastors and Christian leaders are calling for prayer and reconciliation between Israel and Hamas as the Middle East begins to see the worst bloodshed in years between Israelis and Palestinians. The intensity of the fighting prompted the United Nations to warn that the rocketing could escalate into a "full-scale war." The conflict began as the Islamist terror group Hamas fired hundreds of missiles at Jerusalem on Monday after hundreds of rioters were injured in clashes with Israeli police and Jewish religious observers on the Temple Mount.
Evangelist Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, took to Facebook to ask Christians to pray. He said he personally knows innocent people on both sides of the war who will not benefit from its continuance. He posted, "I have many friends who live in Israel, both Arab and Jew, so we are very concerned about the situation there. People have been killed, families are cowering in fear in bomb shelters, and they need our prayers. As we are commanded in the Scriptures, let us "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6)."
Additionally, Pastor Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, tweeted, "My heart goes out to the people impacted through the heightened Middle East conflict. Having recently visited that region, I'm reminded of the many wonderful people I met, and request us all to pray for those who are suffering."
My heart goes out to the people impacted through the heightened Middle East conflict. Having recently visited that region, I'm reminded of the many wonderful people I met, and request us all to pray for those who are suffering.— Tony Evans (@drtonyevans) May 12, 2021
Ed Young, the pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, also called for prayer in a Facebook post, writing, "Pray with me. For protection of the innocent. For peace. For loved ones lost. For our leaders. In Jesus name. #PrayForIsrael."
NBC News reports that during the Jerusalem Day attack on Jewish religious observers who were celebrating Jerusalem Day, Hamas militants launched over 200 rockets into Israel in what an Israeli Defense Forces spokesman called a "blatant, severe attack." During the attack, the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, was forced to halt its session and evacuate.
According to Reuters, in response to incendiary weapons fired from the Palestinian enclave that destroyed Israeli agriculture, Israel's military said it targeted underground infrastructure and a military post belonging to Gaza's Islamist rulers.
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John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.