A few notes about Israel and the Islamic extremists who all but engulf them (not just at every border, but internally: it’s rife, is the Holy Land, with internal, fenced-in Palestinian camps).
Years ago I wrote about how Israel is not just a geopolitical hotspot, but a supernatural one. Or one might say it’s a political-military hotspot because it’s a spiritual one. This is the land of the Old and New Testaments, where Jesus was born and walked and was crucified. And you can feel that force at places such as the Holy Sepulcher, the Basilica of the Annunciation, and the Church of Nativity. Maybe it is better described as a “power spot,” or, from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, an incredible conglomeration of them.
The flashpoints are constant.
It never seems to stay out of the news — out of crisis — for long.
One certainly wonders — and this is not to besmirch Muslims (countless are the good ones) — if many extremists are infested by the demonic or outright possessed. The violence they wreak — whether from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Gaza, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and so forth — is legion. Suicide missions are a norm and not very natural — certainly out of God’s Plan. If not demonism (caused by pagan Christ-ignoring aspects of their religion), is it genetic? Noticeably, many Arab countries display some of the highest rates of consanguineous marriages in the world ranging around 20-50% of all marriages, and specifically favoring first cousin marriages with average rates of about 20-30%
Not pleasant to ask. But events constantly cause one to at least ponder. And at the least, radical terrorist Muslims are misguided (perhaps indeed by the “jinn,” their word for evil spirits they themselves acknowledge to exist).
Jinn are supernatural beings created by Allah from a smokeless, scorching fire. They are distinct from angels and have free will, which means they can choose to be good or evil. Among the jinn, those who choose the path of evil are known as “shayatin” (singular: “shaitan” – شيطان), which is often translated as “demons” or “devils.”
Pray for them. Again, the majority are good people, and their devotion can be extraordinary.
The first time I went there, as a journalist, in the late 1980s, I was taken around by Dr. Bar Josef, a professor of paleoanthropology at Tel Aviv University who showed me caves in Mount Carmel where among the first modern homo sapiens had been found. They were still digging up skull fragments when I visited.
He also showed me a “safe room” in his family’s apartment in the event of a gas attack: The windows were covered with plastic, as were the vents and doors. Imagine having this in the back of your mind all the time.
I had a rental car, and throughout my trip, I picked up soldiers who were hitchhiking to get from one post to another, or to and from their homes.
It was easy getting around back then; one could drive right into Jerusalem or Bethlehem, for instance.
The last time I went to Bethlehem was a very different picture, with a towering double security gate and checkpoint: barbed wire and fencing everywhere.
Note well that the Hamas attack came as Israel was struggling internally with division and nearly civil war. The enemy (spiritual and political) sees division, whether in society or homes, as an opportunity.
This raises the question: What about the now severely divided U.S.?
Never mentioned in discussions of the Middle East is the fact that animosities are not only over religion (those are well-known; one Muslim leader called a few days ago for the eradication globally of “treacherous Christians”), but also their rejection of Caucasians. The ancestry of many and perhaps most modern Jews in Israel is Eastern Europe (Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary), where during the Middle Ages a large number of Europeans converted from Christianity to Judaism to avoid massacre by invading Turkish and other Muslims who that time around were entirely focused on Christians (leaving Jews alone).
A famous Jewish writer, Arthur Koestler, wrote an entire book about this called The Thirteenth Tribe. In it Koestler presents the theory that Ashkenazi Jews are descendants of the Khazars, a Turkic people, rather than Semitic Middle Eastern origins. (Israel was created by the U.N. and its first president was Polish. The fourth prime minister was an American immigrant and school teacher, Golda Meir.)
Speaking of “eradication of Christians,” one notes that the Palestinian Hamas terror group has called on Muslims worldwide to stage a “Day of Jihad,” or holy war, on Friday, October 13th — coincidentally, a date that resonates with horror movies and upcoming Halloween.
It is also anniversary of the Great Fátima Sun Miracle in 1917. Did you know that Fátima is a Muslim name?
A number of supposed seers and locutionists have predicted that a truly major event will occur. Are these real prophecies or simply from human anticipation? We’ll know Saturday (October 14). If wrong, Scripture tells us, the prophet is “presumptuous” (which has interesting dictionary definitions).
Take what is good from a mystic, Scripture also tells us, and leave the rest.
A while ago we had a “Special Report” on an alleged seer from Sievernich, Germany, who, despite indications of diocesan support, and some reported interaction with two Popes, had flown beneath the radar.
Her name is Manuela Strack, and as we explained, she once met with Cardinal Josef Ratzinger after handing messages she claimed to have received from Mary — secret ones — to Pope John Paul II during a general audience the day before. This is recent advice from her:
“This is the time of trouble, the time of upheaval, the time of confusion. We are all sinners. Those who open their hearts to Jesus and Mary during this time will be severely tested, but will receive great graces from heaven. Excessive graces! All of us when we do it. However, the prerequisite for this is that we remain faithful to the Lord and His Most Holy Mother. Do we remain faithful to Jesus and Mary in these storms? Or do we create something for ourselves in faith or run away and become unfaithful? Dear friends, especially now, in this time of tribulation, when the wheat is separated from the chaff, so to speak, it is good to remain calm and lovingly open our hearts to Jesus and Mary. However, we must reject anything that does not come from God. We should remain clear within ourselves, so that evil cannot enter and poison our hearts. Let us also remain calm and praying in the hearts of Jesus and Mary at the time of the Synod. Let us not set our sail in the storm. Whatever may come, God has provided for us. This time has been announced for a long time. What does this tell us? God has His plan. Serviam!”
Note how few predicted what occurred last weekend in Israel, focusing instead on what they believe are coming natural disasters.
And in fact, chalk this up on their behalf: the same weekend as the Hamas attack, an earthquake in Afghanistan caused about 2,200 deaths — comparable to 9/11 and more than the number of Israelis killed by Hamas, though the media all but ignored it.
(Note also a category-four hurricane slamming into Mexico.)
How often do we pray for those in the news, besides simply watching the carnage?
It’s important to do so.
Those poor parents whose kids have been killed or abducted, those youngsters decapitated, those elderly dragged away. Beyond terrorism, was this. A pogrom.
Yet, also pray for the Muslim attackers.
Most are misguided and in great need of He Who they reject as Messiah and while on earth probably looked very much like Palestinians.
[Footnote and prayer need: We’re told a group of American pilgrims there didn’t want to evacuate; they wanted to continue their pilgrimage, troopers that they are. (They were spirited through Jordan and were with a truly excellent Catholic pilgrimage company, 206 Tours). What will happen with our planned pilgrimage there in a year is at this point uncertain. We will go only if it is safe. “While all pilgrims are now safely evacuated, we ask everyone to continue to please pray for the safety and well-being of our 206 Tours family of guides, drivers, partners, priests and religious who remain behind,” writes Milanka Lachman, of 206. “Our hearts are with you all. May Our Lady, Queen of Peace, and Our Lord Jesus, the Prince of Peace assist all those affected by these terrible attacks. We pray for peace.”]
[resources: Michael Brown retreat 10/21, online and tape]