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Iran Strikes Israel!
Iran directly attacks Israel with suicide drones, cruise & ballistic missiles.
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April 19, 2024 - Audio, 16.13 MIN
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Last weekend the gloves finally came off.  Choosing to send an army of 170 suicide drones, 30 cruise missiles and 120 ballistic missiles into foreign territory, is a virtual declaration of war with the country to which those missiles are sent.

This has been a long time in coming. For decades, Iran has hidden behind its proxies in the middle east and operated indirectly through those channels (Hezbollah/Hamas/Houthis), fearing direct reprisals from Israel. For the first time since the Iranian Revolution, Iran attacked Israel from their own soil.

Iran’s Drone and Missile Attack

In the early hours of the Sunday morning, Iran launched missiles that arrived in Israeli airspace and were shot down by Israel’s defence systems. Nearly all of the drones were shot down before they even reached Israeli airspace by a combination of Israeli, US, UK and French forces. Many people in Israel woke up to the cruise and ballistic missiles being shot down in the sky above their heads. Even in the skies around Jerusalem, missiles were being shot down. This presents the rather puzzling spectacle of the State of Israel defending the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa and other Islamic holy sites from a radical Islamic regime. The footage of the missiles cruising across Israeli skies before being shot down was both dramatic and shocking. The only casualty from the attack was a beduin girl in the Negev who was hit by a piece of shrapnel. Amidst the calls fro de-escalation, Israel responded to the attack in the early hours of this morning.  

The Tehran Times celebrates operation "True Promise" against Israel.

Current news suggests that Israel launched a missile at an Iranian airbase. This attack was humorously and perhaps appropriately described as “lame” by Itamar Ben Gvir, a member of Israel’s security cabinet and part of Netanyahu’s government. This response seems to have been designed to show some retaliation, whilst not allowing the situation to escalate out of control. The missile attack was also down-played in Iranian media, suggesting that they also are not looking for escalation. 

The West Discourages Retaliation

We should take a moment to pause and take stock of the world’s response to this attack. Both the US and UK among others have patronisingly warned Israel all week to “show restraint”. Their fears of escalation in the region are well-founded and reasonable - escalation is in no one’s interest. However, if southern Ireland sent 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles and 120 ballistic missiles into UK territory, I would be interested in the kind of “restraint” that Rishi Sunak may or may not show. What about if Mexico sent an army of drones and missiles across the border? How would the US administration respond? When it comes to the Jewish people, the double standard is clear to see - there is an hypocrisy behind the calls of the Western world for restraint, further isolating the Jewish people, even from their allies. Deterrence is a corner stone of any sovereign country’s existence and survive. If you cannot deter your enemies from attacking you then your country has serious problems. If Israel were to let such a huge attack take place with no response, they would be merely encouraging further violence. Deterrence, not weakness is the path to peace. If the US or UK were attacked, this would almost certainly be the line they would take. Iran claimed that this was a response to Israel’s bombing of their embassy in Syria. The problem with this pretext is that Israel’s strike of the embassy took out one the key masterminds behind the Oct 7th attacks. This was no escalation by Israel but rather part of a reasonable and balanced response to the Oct 7 terrorism. The weakness of the West, particularly when it comes to the Biden Administration has been crucial in the unfolding of events over the past four years. One of the major selling points of Joe Biden, emphasised by the democrats was that he supposedly wouldn’t start WW3. With Donald Trump, this was a real possibility according to the left. After two major wars started around the world, along with a disastrous withdrawal from Afganistan, a direct attack on Israel from Iran and a border crisis at home, this position is no longer tenable. The lack of deterrence shown by the Biden Administration has not turned out well. The same officials now advising Biden, predicted Donald Trump would set the world on fire by moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. No such thing happened. It has been the lack of deterrence that has contributed to a dangerous world. This is important from a biblical perspective: Ezekiel 38 presents Sheba/Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish as bystanders in the conflict. There is no involvement or retaliation from those parties, but rather a a mild questioning response to the invasion of the land of Israel. The weakness demonstrated by the West is showing in real time how a situation like this could unfold. Identity politics, the culture war and polarisation in the West could easily be the cause of it’s decline, leaving the world with less deterrence and a far more dangerous place than it was during the zenith of American power. 

Who was Celebrating Iran’s attack?

Outside of the British embassy in Iran, members of the public gathered to celebrate the attack on Israel. This is not shocking. However, it was also reported that anti-Israel protests across the  West also celebrated Iran’s strike on Israel, literally at the same time that the missiles were being fired. This is another staggering example of the latent anti-Semitism that has exploded since Oct 7th. There were other protestors in New York City who carried Hezbollah flags or other Hamas icons such as a headdress. After Oct 7th, antisemites have came out to protest in droves, claiming they were just anti-Israel and not antisemitic. When you are celebrating an Iranian missile attack on the Jewish people - you are not a constructive critic of Israel. You do not support the right of Israel to exist in their land - this is the latest mutation of Antisemitism. This mutation has been dubbed “Israelophobia” by some [1]. The ADL, (anti defamation league) said that antisemitic incidents have doubled in the last year. The frog-like sprits, in Revelation 16 describe how humanism popularised in the French Revolution would lead to Antisemitism with all nations gathered against Jerusalem to battle. Today, we see this spirit at work among the nations - this can only lead in one direction. We shouldn’t be surprised to see an increase ini antisemitism as the return of the Lord Jesus Christ grows nearer. 

What about the other Arab Nations?

One of the key themes in Ezekiel 38 is the elusive state of “peace and safety” found on the mountains of Israel directly before the confederacy of nations invade the land. We certainly do not see a situation of peace in the land of Israel today. However, over recent years, this prospect has begun to seem more and more viable. Egypt signed a peace accord in the 1970s, as did Jordan, a few decades later. More recently, the Abraham Accords formed the foundation for peace between Israel and various surrounding Arab states such as the UAE and Bahrain. It was remarkable to see how some of these countries responded to Iran’s attack. Jordan for example, which has been heavily critical of Israel of the past months, intercepted dozens of drones from Iran last weekend. Whatever words they might condemn Israel with so as to not lose face with her Arab neighbours, when push comes to shove, Jordanian weaponry fought with the Jewish people against Iran. Ironically, this makes Jordan less radical than many protestors in New York City. But The Wall Street Journal, citing US officials, said Iran tipped off several Gulf states about the timing and nature of the attack it was planning. They then passed the information to the US, Israel's key international ally. "Arab countries quietly passed along intelligence about Tehran's attack plans, opened their airspace to warplanes, shared radar tracking information or, in some cases, supplied their own forces to help" the Journal reported, citing the sources. The Times of Israel reported that this intelligence was key to thwarting Iran’s assault. Even when things have been strained for Israel with the Arab world because of events in Gaza, there is still a warming of ties that is inevitably growing stronger. The same article also suggested that other Arab countries supplied their own forces to help Israel, although it is unclear which nations that might be. We might not be very far away from a world-changing peace accord between Israel and Saudi Arabia although it seems likely that Israel will have to finish up in Gaza before anything further can officially happen. The events of the last week are a testament to the possibility of peace.

Iran to be Aligned with Russia (Eze 38)

Ezekiel 38:1-5 outlines confederacy that will be lead by Gog against Israel. One of the nations included in the list is Persia, or modern-day Iran. It is no surprise to see the anti-Israel rhetoric of this radical nation against the Jewish people in the latter days. Iran is becoming more and more closely aligned with the Russia. A couple of days ago, the FDD put out an article with the headline: “Russia defends Iranian Attack on Israel”. It explains how Russia criticised Israel’s “blatant” attack on the embassy in Syria. Russia’s permanent representative to the UN also expressed appreciation for Irans show of restraint. An FDD senior fellow wrote that, “Make no mistake, Russia is now Iran’s lawyer on the UN Security Council.”

“That Moscow would back the Iranians at the UN Security Council comes as no surprise. Tehran continues to aid Russia in its war against Ukraine, while Moscow is keen to exploit the Middle East crisis and resents what it sees as over-the-top Israeli airstrikes in Syria. While Israel was the intended victim of last weekend’s Iranian barrage, Shahed drones continue to bombard Ukrainian cities, and Ukraine may soon also face strikes by Iranian-supplied ballistic missiles. This is all the more reason why Washington and its allies must shore up Ukraine’s air defenses without further delay.” — John Hardie, Deputy Director of FDD’s Russia Program. We are seeing God’s hand at work as he aligns the nations against the Jewish people, in preparation for day when they will descend upon the mountains of Israel. 

They tried to kill us, we survived, LET’S EAT 

As we reflect on the latest attack on the Jewish people, it is fitting that next week Passover will begin. During the Passover meal, (the seder), the story of the miraculous deliverance from Egypt is recounted. The recounting of this story along with the myriad other deliverances of God’s people are often humorously summarised in with the phrase, “they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat”. This week, the latest iteration of that great story or theme of the Jewish people has been written. Once more, the hand of God has protected them just as he has for millennia.

An old Jewish prayer, also sung on Passover is particularly relevant considering the forces of evil that lined up against God’s people once again - It is called “Vehi Sheamda” (a link to the song, as sung by Yossi Azulay can be found in the description[2]): “And it is this (the Torah) that has stood by our ancestors and for us. For not only one (enemy) has risen up against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise up to destroy us. But the Holy One, Blessed be He, delivers us from their hands”.
As we watch the turbulence of world around us, we pray for the day when the redeemer will come to Zion, to turn ungodliness from Jacob,  and that Jerusalem might arise and shine as the capital of the newly restored Kingdom of Israel. Join us again next week for another edition of Bible in the News. This has been Daniel Blackburn joining you. 

[1] See the book, “Israelophobia” by Jake Wallis Simons, Editor of the Jewish Chronicle, UK. This book explains the difference between criticising Israel and pure antisemitism. The book also makes the case for the connection between Antisemitism and the social justice movement. This explains how the Frog-like spirits (Humanism) could result in Antisemitism (Revelation 16).

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