The fatal knife attack in London’s Russell Square was, for me, not only a reminder of what Israel has been facing on an almost daily basis over much of the past year, but also a flashback to the 7/7 bombings that struck the city’s transport system.
On that July day in 2005 Islamic fanatics murdered over fifty commuters and injured hundreds more, including my younger brother David. The first I knew of this latest attack was the all-too-familiar image on my internet news feeder of Russell Square where, eleven years ago, a blown-up double-decker bus came to represent the awful carnage of London’s nightmare.
Despite sitting only three feet from the man behind the plot as the Edgware Road tube blast was detonated, David miraculously survived (minus a leg) thanks to prayers, paramedics and doctors.
But I am still left wondering what it will take for people in general to wake up and realise that all hell is being let loose, and that they need to do something about it, or they will become part of the problem.
The disturbing result of a new survey only confirmed my fears – that 50% of our teens admit to being addicted to their smartphone. They are almost constantly attached to their device; one adult explained that, for him, it amounted to a fear of ‘missing out’. The good news is that, as a result of the survey, many are now committing to ‘digital detoxing’.
But most continue to live in such an unreal world that it seems even terror is not enough to rouse them from their soulless slumber. This unreality has even infiltrated the world’s apparent powerbase – Washington’s White House – where President Obama told a summit on global development that “we are living in the most peaceful” era in human history and that “the world has never been less violent” – rhetoric no doubt designed to contrast with that of the Republican Presidential nominee’s camp.
His Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, has said that air conditioners and refrigerators are as much of a threat to life as terror groups like ISIS.
But in radical Islam we are facing the most serious threat to civilization since the murky shadow of Nazism lengthened over Europe. As I write, Israel is preparing for a worst-case scenario as a peace deal looks possible in the Syrian civil war along its northern border. It’s a widely understood reality in the region that, when the jihadists have ironed out their differences and stop fighting each other, they will turn their fire on their common enemy – Israel.
And Christians must continue to pray for Israel’s protection. Not only are they in dire need of divine covering, but it’s a biblical command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122.6). It’s also in our interests to do so because, as former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar points out, “if it [Israel] goes down, we all go down.”
He argues that the Jewish state is at the cutting edge in the battle between militant Islam and the West and, in a Times article, concludes, “Israel is a fundamental part of the West which is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not our fate is inextricably intertwined.”
We can no longer ignore Middle Eastern terrorism because we are now forced to contend with it on our own doorstep. And for UK residents there’s another reason: Palestinians are threatening to take Britain to court for helping the Jews to re-settle their ancient land! Yes, a lawsuit is being prepared against the British Government for issuing the so-called Balfour Declaration of 1917 through which it committed itself to this goal.
And though Britain subsequently reneged on some of its promises, there is no doubt that she played a major role in Jewish restoration. This is something for which we should all be proud, of course, but our brave new politically-correct world is more likely to see it as shameful colonial practice.
It’s worth noting, however, that those committing jihad against Israel are not holding back on bringing the same terror to our streets too. And if Palestinian Authority terror is politically correct, what’s so different about the terror we have witnessed in London, New York, Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Munich and Nice? Jihadists everywhere are using the same tactics, and the same excuses (the god of Islam).
It’s time to come off the fence and take sides – and all the more so in light of the shock news of a leading Christian charity being accused of siphoning off millions of dollars in support of terror group Hamas. The big question is: Are you on the Lord’s side?
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com