Israel's Pain and the World's Joy
Samir Kuntar and four other convicted terrorists were returned to Lebanon in exchange for the dead bodies of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped at the beginning of the 2nd Lebanese War, Eldad Regev and Udi Goldvasser. Kuntar was received in Lebanon as a hero, welcomed by President Suleiman, Prime Minister Seniora and other political and religious figures. Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah proclaimed this as the beginning of a new period of victory. Kuntar himself said, "We will all return soon to Greater Palestine."
Here are some descriptions from the Israeli press:
Simah Kadmon of Yediot: Yesterday at 9:41 AM all Israel held its breath at the moment that the two coffins of Eldad and Udi were lowered to the ground. In spite of the fact that we knew, that we heard, that we were warned that there was not a chance that they would be returned alive – the moment came upon us as a shock. And then came the grief. What a sad day this was! No wonder that we have all become one large bereaved family. What wickedness! We witnessed the total lack of humanity and the demonstrations of joy in Lebanon at the return of one who had murdered a young child. The people of Israel became united around the families of these two soldiers.
The Jerusalem Post: In 1979, Kuntar and 3 other gunmen made their way in a rubber dinghy from Lebanon to Nahariya (on Israel's northern coast). There they killed a policeman who stumbled upon them, then burst into the apartment of Danny Haran, herding him and his 4 year old daughter, Einat, at gun point to the beach below, where they were killed.
Maariv's description in 1979: After drowning Danny Haran, Kuntar turned his attention towards the 4 year old girl. He took his rifle and swung it across the toddler's head, knocking her to the ground. Kuntar then dragged her to the closest rock. Einat instinctively covered her head with her arms. Kuntar cleared her arms out of the way. Then he beat her repeatedly on the head with the butt of his rifle and stomping on her body, until blood rushed out of her mouth and ears. He continued beating her over the head until her skull was crushed (Wikipedia).
Uri Aurbach in Yediot (in an open letter to the Lebanese): Israel has no conflict with you over borders. We do have a conflict with you over moral boundaries. You are rejoicing in your "victory" and mocking the pain of our people. Yet, one more "victory" like this for you and you will be lost altogether. You don't realize that with these so called victories that the fanatic gang of Hizballah is taking over your country, along with its cannibal like leader, Sheikh Nasrallah.
CNN broadcast the celebrations in Beirut, showing a large billboard declaring, Israel's pain is Lebanon's Joy. Yet not all of the Lebanese feel that way. In fact I believe there will be an underground backlash to Hizballah throughout Lebanon.
Lee Smith, special correspondent in Beirut, wrote this exclusive to Maariv: Not all the inhabitants of Lebanon are partakers in these celebrations. One Shiite young lady responded, "These celebrations astonished me. They reflect a kind of social schizophrenia here in Lebanon and a double standard of morality." While many prefer to remain silent outwardly, they are embarrassed by the public responses. Many of the inhabitants of the Christian quarters of the city totally ignored the celebrations. And many of the Sunis were shocked and even furious at Seniora for having acquiesced to Nasrallah and receiving Kuntar as a hero. Another citizen said, "I promise you there are even many Shiites here who are angered by the celebrations, yet you will not hear their voices, for if they open there mouths, they will be branded as traitors."
The world today is divided into three groups: Those who rejoice with Hizballah at Israel's pain; those who are silent; and those who stand with Israel in her pain. Yeshua (Jesus) said, "You will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy (John 16:20)." While Israel may be humiliated, God is working in our people a deeper level of unity, sobriety, conviction, determination, compassion, and integrity.
I am beginning to see the meaning of the nation of Israel being a "chosen people" in these end times. Israel is a stumbling block to the nations of the world: a moral test and a dividing line from the Lord (Zechariah 12:3). The world mocked Yeshua at the crucifixion. Yet on the third day He rose again as King of Israel and Head of the Church. In this time of mocking by the International Press and the Islamic Jihad, Israel is being prepared for its national destiny and spiritual awakening.