I just spent two weeks in Israel. In some areas, you feel like you’re in America–safe, peaceful, and in relative freedom. Until you wander the Old City of Jerusalem at night–or the Temple Mount. The photo above is real, taken from a professional photographer and professor who accompanied us on the trip for that sole purpose.
Our group of about thirty people was up on the Temple Mount, where Jesus overthrew the moneychangers, and where we women had to cover our legs and arms for one of the most sacred places in Jerusalem. Guards hovered nearby to make sure we weren’t praying or that our guide was not giving a sermon. If you weren’t Muslim, those things were forbidden.
Our guide was explaining how fortunate we were to have been allowed in as many times they excluded white tourists and Christians. He recounted stories of Jewish people coming up to pray and being harassed. He said the Muslims would send little boys out to throw stones at the Jewish people. However, those boys would get arrested by Temple police, so they came up with another strategy, which we witnessed at the end of our time there. We were headed out towards the exit when we heard this screaming and shouting. As the noise neared us, we saw Muslim girls and women in head-coverings shouting “Allahu Akbar” at a group of Jewish people coming to pray who were surrounded by security for protection. A glance at some of the girls revealed the venom in their eyes. They chanted that up and down and followed the group everywhere.
This was one of the first times on the trip where I felt uncomfortable, even scared. It was then I realized I wasn’t in America. For as much as our country is headed away from God, we haven’t yet gotten to the point of the situation on the Temple Mount. Oh yes, people have yelled “Hail Satan” in front of abortion clinics or dubbed giving credit to God “hate speech” or yelled at police, looted and rioted, but they haven’t yet disturbed someone going to church. We read about that in magazines about other countries–a pastor walking to church gets beaten, sometimes killed. A woman gets imprisoned for reading the Bible and deemed a “blasphemer.” How grateful I was for those precious freedoms we still hold dear in America! Let us not back down from doing our part, no matter how small, in maintaining those freedoms.
Pray for Israel. The Messianic Jews and Christians face difficult times there as the country is growing largely Muslim and minority faiths are forced out. Pray for them to remain strong. Pray for those who do not have the love of God in their hearts. And pray for unity in Israel politically and spiritually. And pray for America, that we wouldn’t slide downhill and eventually have a situation like I saw that day in Jerusalem.
Photo Courtesy of Brian Morley