Terror from the Gaza strip has haunted the Holy Land for over a decade. Sporadic outbreaks of violence have tested the patience of Israel’s civilians living in the southern region. The resolve of the government and the Israel Defense Forces has been tested, while they work to balance protecting the people and avoiding war.
The last time the IDF sent ground troops into Gaza was between 2008 and 2009 for “Operation Cast Lead.” Those in Israel at the time testify that every man, woman and child, whether observant or not, joined forces to pray for the welfare and safety of the brave IDF fighters.
Navigating the maze of Gaza cities, which were filled with booby trapped buildings, terror tunnels, road bombs and snipers’ shooting made completing this mission particularly precarious and dangerous. The odds of IDF soldiers coming out alive or even unscathed were slim.
Yet, many miraculous stories started spreading throughout the Land, some, almost too far fetched to believe. Amazingly, these stories have been confirmed by those who actually experienced them and give strength to the power of prayer.
Here are two such stories:
Rabbi Lazer Brody, a former IDF special-unit veteran, shared this story after hearing it from the father of the soldier to whom it happened.
The IDF soldier was part of the Givati Brigade. His unit was tasked with cleaning out terrorists and weapons in and around Gaza city.
This battalion found themselves facing a woman dressed in black, standing in front of one of the houses they were told to check. The woman, named Rachel, started yelling in Arabic, “Get out of here! It’s dangerous!”
The soldiers assumed that she was trying to protect her family. However, not wanting to take chances, their company commander called the regiment commander who advised them to move on to their next target.
Suddenly, the same woman in black appeared in front of them and again gave the danger warning. Assuming she must have arrived so quickly through one of the terror tunnels set up by Hamas between houses, a soldier even yelled at her for interfering with their mission.
The IDF troops then went to a third house and, lo and behold, the same woman appeared again. By now, all the soldiers froze in place realizing something otherworldly was happening.
The IDF soldiers called the Golani Engineering force, whose job it is to blow up booby-trapped houses. The unit asked them to check the three houses the mysterious woman had warned them about. Sure enough, all three houses were filled with explosives.
Around the time that the story was revealed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Israel’s northern city of Safed and son of former Chief Rabbi of Israel Mordechai Eliyahu, was teaching in Jerusalem about the plight of the IDF soldiers in Gaza and this miraculous story in particular.
Rabbi Shmuel confirmed that his holy father had been released from the hospital just before the war and went three times to pray at Biblical Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem for the success and safety of Israel’s soldiers and the Holy Land.
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu continued, “I told [my father] about this story, and I asked him, ‘Should we believe it? Is it truth?’ And he said, ‘Yes, it’s true.’ I asked him to explain, and he said – in these words: ‘I told her: Rachel, a war is on! Don’t withhold your voice from crying [based on Jeremiah 31,14-16]! Go before God, and pray for the soldiers, who are sacrificing themselves for the Nation of Israel, that they should strike – and not be stricken.’
“I told him, “Well, you should know that she really did that.”
“Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu asked, “‘Did she mention that I sent her?’”
Another miraculous story from Operation Cast Lead was shared in a video called, “How God Fought in Gaza.” The film features archived footage from the mission along with interviews IDF soldiers and officers who served in the operation. The soldiers recognize the hand of God as they describe “miraculous” firefights where IDF troops emerged without a scratch.
One Godly story follows:
Most Israelis have come to rely on the Iron Dome to protect them from enemy missiles. The Iron Dome is a mobile all-weather air defense system designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired at civilian areas.
During Operation Cast Lead, a missile was shot into Israel from Gaza and was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or a central Tel Aviv railway station.
The first Iron Dome interceptor was shot but missed the rocket. A second interceptor was shot and also missed, something very unusual. There were only four seconds left until the missile would hit a populated area causing mass-casualties.
The IDF commander shared, “Suddenly, the Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that … sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a God!’ “I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea.”
The Bible states, “It is a land which Hashem your God looks after, on which Hashem your God always keeps His eye, from year’s beginning to year’s end” (Deuteronomy 11:12).
For soldiers these prayers can be the difference between life and death.
As such, a crowdfunding campaign has been established to raise money to provide IDF combat soldiers with a proper place to pray and worship wherever they are serving. These unique “mobile synagogues” move with battalions, offering a spiritual place for them to connect with God.
Until December 31, 2018, every dollar donated will be matched by a lover of Israel’s soldiers. Donations are essential to providing IDF soldiers with these mobile synagogues. To donate to this campaign, please click here.