“This is the time to transcend conflict”, wrote Israel’s army spokesman, Avichay Adraee, in Arabic. In a tragedy of huge proportions, Beirut has just suffered a devastating explosion of dangerous substances1 that had been confiscated and stored at the port. In the wake of the blast ranking just behind Hiroshima and Nagasaki in force, over 135 have been killed and more than 5,000 wounded. Buildings have been destroyed over a huge area, and over 300,000 people are now left homeless. Even though Israel and Lebanon are considered enemies, Israel has offered support and aid.
The director of Ziv hospital near the border extended Israel’s offer of help via Facebook, again writing in Arabic: “We are ready to provide medical assistance as we did before with the people of south [Lebanon] and the people of Syria.” 2
President Rivlin tweeted (below): “We share the pain of the Lebanese people and sincerely reach out to offer our aid at this difficult time.”
نشارك الشعب اللبناني في مصابه الأليم، ونمد لهُ يد صادقة للعون. https://t.co/bfrFV5kCNh
— ראובן (רובי) ריבלין (@ruvirivlin) August 4, 2020
This is not the first time that Israel has reached out to help those considered enemies. In just one week, 72,793 tons of Israeli aid was sent in trucks to Gaza according to Hananya Naftali. In fact, Israel transfers tons of food and aid to Gaza every single week, even though you won’t hear about it in the media. No matter whether terrorists are firing rockets at Israeli civilians or not, they continue to send help for the people of Gaza.
Similarly, in a project called “Operation Good Neighbour”, the IDF has teamed up with brave believers on the northern border to help provide medical help to Syrians affected by the conflict. Many thousands have been brought over the border to receive treatment in Israeli hospitals. Unsurprisingly, this radically affects the way these Syrians see Israel. Enemies become friends.
Love your enemy
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than anyone else? Even the pagans do that, don’t they? Therefore be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)
With the constant violence and atrocities happening all around us, we may be tempted to forget the revolutionary ways of our Messiah. He was not just noble – he was self-sacrificial towards those who hated him. He was not just kind to his own company – his heart broke for his own tormentors. This radical enemy-love was not just a nice theory – it was a real expectation. He personally led the way, leaving us not only with a perfect example, but with his own Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus – to help us.
If Israel can act in such a way towards those considered enemies, how much more should we who know the Messiah honor and bless our persecutors? Who are the ones you personally might describe as “enemies”? The ones opposing you and all you hold dear? How can you love your enemy and put these words of Jesus into practice today?
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.“
- Times of Israel Lebanese PM: 2,750 Tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate Caused ‘Disaster in Every Sense’, 5 August 2020
- HaAretz, ”We Share Your Pain’: Israel Offers Aid to Lebanon After Beirut Port Blast, 5 August 2020