Over the years, I’ve often stood on the Lebanon border with groups of Christian Leaders participating in the American Israel Education Foundation(AIEF)trips. Hezbollah’s yellow flags could easily be seen flying over Lebanese villages among the green trees. Standing just yards away from the outposts of one of the world’s most dangerous terror organizations is revealing in its closeness; like the short distance within an American neighborhood yet two opposite worlds. Christian leaders, intent on receiving security briefings, armed themselves with another kind of defense. They determined to spread the truth on behalf of Israel.
The recent discovery of the monster tunnel on the Lebanese border took me back to 2006 prior to my position with AIPAC. I co-led a group of 25 Christians to Israel mostly from South Carolina during the Second Lebanon War. We traveled to Israel with one simple message: “We are Christians. Friends stand with friends in their times of trouble.” We visited Rambam hospital, bomb shelters, ventured to the front lines carrying small American flags to the soldiers, and prayed often at the Kotel. We spent as much time as possible in northern Israel with acts of friendship, help, and conversation with soldiers, doctors, senior citizens, and children. We astonished Magen David Adom in Jerusalem when 25 of us showed up to give blood.
The northern border has grown far more lethal in the last 13 years with tunnels, Iranian weapons, and world opinion significantly more venomous in its antisemitism against the world’s only Jewish state.
Many media outlets are carrying the news of the recent discovery and dismantling of the monster tunnel that some are calling the “flagship” of Hezbollah tunnels. It’s aptly named. The statistics are staggering. The IDF reports a depth of 260 feet,(around 22 stories) 3280 feet long and crossed into Israel for 250-600 feet. The IDF’s Operation Northern Shield has located a series of tunnels since its focused inception in December 2018. The monster tunnel was a behemoth in comparison. With its electricity, ventilation, bathrooms, bunks, and communications systems it will now go down in history as a hateful project leading to nowhere.
“The terror tunnel that was exposed today was built under a home in a civilian neighborhood in southern Lebanon. Now, this is just one more example of how Hezbollah is committing a double war crime. They target civilians while hiding behind civilians. And this must be condemned loudly and clearly by all nations that care about peace, freedom and human dignity.” Prime Minister Netanyahu
It will not surprise Israelis or those of us in the pro-Israel Christian community that Israel’s detractors will find a way to somehow vilify Operation Northern Shield. Antisemitism after all is fueled by slander, hatred, and lies. It’s no surprise that the UN is already sending a team to verify the “authenticity” of Israel’s claims about the monster tunnel. And will it matter that Hezbollah is violating U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701?” I don’t think so. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus addressed the fact that the tunnels were dug “from within civilian houses in Lebanon into Israel.” He added that this proves Hezbollah’s policy of using civilians in warfare. Hamas uses the same strategy storing its weapons in apartment buildings and using force to send rioters to the Gaza border. Terror Twins.
As for Iran in its war with Iraq from 1980-1988, its barbaric leaders thought nothing of sending tens of thousands of boy soldiers out as human minefield sweepers. Iran with its surrogates of Hezbollah and Hamas, comprise a deadly set of Terror Triplets.
While history proves that Israel must take verbal threats,propaganda and actions seriously in order to defend its citizens, I also know that millions of us in the Christian community take our commitment seriously to stand with Israel. Our invisible prayers follow Israel Defense Forces into tunnels, borders, and dangers. Count on it.