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Soli Deo Gloria is the writing and teaching ministry of Baruch Maoz in Israel. Baruch is engaged in writing original commentaries on the Bible, and theological and practical works in Hebrew. Some of his books are available in English. His critique of the Messianic movement, Come Let Us Reason Together: The Unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Church, has been published by P&R, and his Devotional Commentary, Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Distress by Crossbooks. Both are available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Shepherd Press has puboished his Devotional Commentary Jonah: A Prophet on the Run.

Baruch is also engaged in writing (in Hebrew) a commentary on Romans and Colossians, futher books in the Devotional Commentary series, an Introduction to Systematic Theology, editing a modern translation of the Bible into Modern Hebrew and writing other expositional and theological books. In the pipeline are also books on church life and structure, How to Preach and Listen to Sermons, and daily Christian disiplines. To date, Baruch is the only author writing Christian literature n Hebrew.

Baruch and Bracha are Israeli Jewish Christians who have served in Israel for 5 decades now. Between April 1974 and December 2006 Baruch served with Christian Witness to , most of that time as Israel Field Leader. Betwen May 1975 and December 2008 he served as Pastor of Grace and Truth Christian Congregation in Rishon LeTsion, Israel. Our website reflects the experiences gained in the course of that time.

Our monthly newsletter, MaozNews, is available for the asking, with back-issues to be found on this website (Baruch's Writings/News From Israel). To subscribe, click address at the bottom of this page.

Baruch's Musings

August 27, 2014

Israel and Hamas - Losses and Gains 
(an Interim assessment)

We are but a day after fighting has been brought to a stall - a stall at this stage, not an end. We are too close to the event to be able to view realities with a wider perspective; hostilities may recommence if Hamas does not get what it wants and can not be persuaded to alter its expectations. Israel, on the other hand, is eager to provide for the restoration of the Gaza civilian population but is determined not to allow Hamas to gain anything from its belligerency. Time will make us wiser.

Still, there is some advantage to an overview proximate to events, one that can be weighed later in perspective. For example, Israel's Second Lebanese War was deemed to be a colossal failure but has since been recognized to ensure a quiet. stable northern border and a Hezbollah that, for all its bombast, has been careful to date not to challenge Israel.

I therefore offer these observations for my readers. Our frequent reports will now end and the nature of the reports will change until new developments demand otherwise. I will revert to sporadic general news about Israel, spiritual meditations and report on my work.

A hearty thanks goes to those who have encouraged and supported me in the course of the last 50 days. Please note that my monthly newsletter carries a broader gamut of information geared particularly to the ministry in which I am privileged to be engaged. 

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Hamas' Gains
Hamas gained by sheer continued existence in spite of the heavy Israeli response to its rocket attacks. It has also gained the payment of its salaried employees, including offensive operatives, leading to a large infusion of funds into Gaza's economy as well as the provision of livelihood for its employees. An additional gain is to be found in its ongoing control of the civilian populace and to Israel undertaking to desist from the assassination of its military operatives so long as they do not constitute an active threat.

The massive reconstruction project that must now be undertaken, if managed wisely and with the real interests of the populace in view, may well lead to a modernized, more efficient infrastructure and to a significant boost in the local economy.

Hamas' Losses
Hamas has almost completely depleted its stock of rockets. The destruction of most if not all of its attack tunnels is a major loss, as it its repeated failure to shock Israel with a successful surprise military endeavor. Further losses include the civilian populace's bitterness due to Hamas' repressive hand toward the population, particularly toward those who dared criticize or question Hamas' policies; its use of the civilians population, of schools, hospitals, clinics, mosques and refugee centers as launching posts for attacks on Israel; by the cowardice of most of its fighting men and especially its commanding officers (none were in the front line of battle; they chose to hide in the tunnels). 

Some 1,000 of its fighting men were killed in action, and important members of its leadership were killed in the course of other activities.

Hamas has also lost some if not all control of the border crossings and of the money to pay its operatives (this will now come through the Palestinian Authority --PA) and has found itself almost completely isolated even in the Moslem world, except for the support of Iran and Qatar. The Arab world sat by and watched Israel grind Gaza into dust, applauding quietly. The informed International community likewise gave Israel free rein.

Israel's Gains
Hamas has been weakened on all fronts but its determination, while strategic commonalities have been shown to hold between Israel and most of the Arab world, particularly the moderate Sunni countries. The organization's ability to attack Israel has been greatly restricted and the imposition of a now more widely-supported scrutiny of goods entering Gaza will reduce its ability to rearm. The PA, which certainly has no interest in a stronger Hamas, is to control the border crossings as well as payment to all and any serving Hamas. Israel's right to defend itself against a murderous organization posing as a rump state was widely recognized and supported. 

Israel's deterrence has been reestablished, not only by virtue of the destruction wrought on Gaza but by the boldness of its soldiers (led into battle by senior officers), the effectiveness of its Iron Dome, the quality of its on-the-spot intelligence and the ability of the general Israeli populace to continue life under threat of rocket fire.

Israel's Losses
Israel lost 64 fighting young men and 7 civilians. Its economy has been impacted by the military costs of the war, by a stall in tourism and a brief closure of the Ben Gurion International Airport, as well as the damage to crops in the South, against which most of Hamas' projectile (rockets and mortars) firing was directed.

*
As to the future, Israel and the Palestinians now need to decide if they prefer to continue to wrestle with each other, or if they would rather wrestle with the issues dividing our two people and seek their resolution. Here, too, the future will disclose their respective preferences. Scripture teaches that sacrifice, unselfishness, good will toward others and a willingness to admit one's own mistakes are what God blesses. The humble, of all people, with inherit the earth and the peacemakers will be called "the sons of God."

With my fellow Israelis, I weep over the pain and loss incurred by both Israelis and Palestinians, and long for the day when, under the merciful banner of Christ and his Gospel, we shall all learn war no more.

**

So far, the cease-fire holds. The real test will commence in a month's time, when negotiations on mutual demands are slated to begin, in Cairo. 

To date, Hamas has gained an extra 3 nautical miles for Gaza fishermen and the payment of Gaza Government employees' salaries, no more. It has undertaken not to initiate attacks against Israel or renew its tunnel effort. 

Israel will continue to scrutiny imports into Gaza and Egypt declined to discuss opening its own crossing into Gaza in the context of the conflict. 

The real gains fell into the lap of the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Mahmoud Abbas, who led the negotiations from the Palestinian side. His unity Government of technocrats has been recognized by all sides and he returns to Gaza after being forcibly removed by Hamas in a vicious military coup. The PA will now be responsible for the border crossings.

In Cairo, Hamas will demand sea and air ports and a complete lifting of the siege. Israel will insist that it has and continues to deny these concessions until assured that Hamas will not use these liberties to rearm and attack Israel, and that the siege was imposed on Israel due to such attacks. If a way can be found to ensure there will be no repetition, there is no need for a siege. In other words, Hamas must disarm. But for Hamas to agree it will have to undergo a fundamental transformation, setting aside one of its basic tenets, namely the destruction of Israel. 

The PA has apparently undergone such a transformation and Israel must now seriously reconsider its relations to the PA: is it not high time to seriously seek a resolution to the conflict? Is Israel willing to make the kind of sacrifices necessary for such? The PA will likewise have to decide if it is willing to make similar sacrifices to ensure the peace and prosperity of its people, who became a people under the most extraordinary circumstances the like of which the world has never seen: a conglomerate of people forced by their (Arab) host countries into refugee camps, there to develop a sense of shared history -- however brief -- of shared aspirations and of a shared future.

Brethren: pray!

**

August 25, 2014

While Hamas pounds Israeli villages proximate to the border with Gaza, Israel has been targeting senior Hamas operatives, launching pads and command posts. Hamas' stocks are running out, the loss of commanders, the responses generated by its public killing of critics and pressure both from within and without are beginning to wear. The closure of the Erez border crossing, through which food and supplied flowed into Gaza via Israel even as the fighting continued has added to Hamas' difficulties.

Israel, Egypt, Europe and the US are seeking to further weaken Hamas by increasing the role of the Palestinian Authority at the Border Crossings and in life in Gaza. Mahmoud Abbas' international standing, particularly within Arab League nations, has added to the waning of Hamas' lustre. 

Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran are too occupied with the war in Syria and with the growing threat of Isis to be of much help to Hamas, and the Arab world in general has turned a blind eye to Hamas' plight because it views the organization as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood threatens regimes in many Arab countries.

Desperately trying to find a tide-changer, Hamas' efforts at kidnapping a soldier or inflicting heavy damage on Israel have increased, so far to little effect.

*** 

Hamas is now focusing its efforts on areas close to the Gaza Strip, knowing that close to the border alert times are shorter and interception by Iron Dome of incoming fire is partial, at best. So far it has no shortage of mortar shells and short-range rockets while its stockpile of longer-range rockets (40 kilometers and longer) is limited. In the first days of the war it sometimes fired 20 such missiles a day. Now it largely avoids firing longer-range rockets, making do with sporadic volleys from time to time, so far to little effect.

The paths available to Hamas for restocking are blocked by Egypt. It appears that most of the production lines for producing its own rockets have been destroyed, despite Hamas denials. Rocket fire is proceeding according to preset plans, with every local commander knowing how many to launch, where to direct them and at what time each day. This decentralized method allows Hamas to continue firing even under intense pressure. 

The only effective way to end mortar fire on the settlements surrounding Gaza would be a renewed but limited invasion to create a no-man's zone of some 3-4 miles. This would put the settlements out of range of mortar attack.

The Recent MaozNews

2013-04-12   17:55:23

 

MaozNews No. 79 August 2014 

to access, click below 

 

In This Issue:

The Recent Conflict
Ministry and Family News

 

 

 

To read our most recent issue, or any backissues, please click on the link below this box

Baruch and Bracha are engaged in their 2013 tour of the US, in the course of which they expect to be driving through Oregon, Montana, North or South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisianna, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Washington State.

Baruch is available for ministry in most of these states, He is prepared to preach, report on the scene in Israel, or offer an expository seminar on a biblical book. If your church is interested, please write to languageservice4u@gmail.com

 

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Testimonials

I have deep respect and love for Baruch Maoz, and the work that he is carrying on in Israel, despite obstacles and opposition. He has been a dear friend for many years. I’ll never forget doing a conference for him in Israel several years ago. I pray that God may use his sound theology, helpful preaching, excellent books, and numerous gifts for the conversion and spiritual maturation of thousands of Israelis and for the abundant glory of God. Rev. Joel R. Beeke, Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, Author

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Baruch Maoz has been a minister of the gospel, author, publisher, and voice for believers in the land of Israel for four decades. I have seen firsthand the fruit of his ministry and I cannot recommend it too highly. Baruch’s preaching, teaching, and writing ministry should be supported by all who care about the gospel and its impact in Israel and beyond! Pastor Jerry Marcellino, Audubon Drive Bible Church, Federation of reformed Evangelicals – Laurel, Mississippi

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Knowing and embracing our Lord’s clear directive to bring the Gospel to the “Jew first” I, along with BPC have been extraordinarily blessed to work in partnership with the effective biblical and faithful ministry of Baruch Maoz. His ministry of evangelism, discipleship, along with his strategic and insightful writing/translation projects, only enhance my opportunity to recommend him and his ministry. Rev. Harry Reeder, Senior Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA), Birmingham AL

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Tom Ascol of the Founders Movement writes: "Baruch and Bracha Maoz serve in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Baruch has served as a pastor, publisher, author and church reformer in his homeland of Israel. He has ministered several times with our Grace Baptist Church family in Cape Coral and our people have come to love Bracha and him dearly. I highly recommend his and his ministry to any church that values expositional preaching and the gospel of God's grace." Dr. Thomas Ascol, Grace Baptist Church (SBC), Founders Movement, Cape Coral FL

For more, see below.

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