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Can I really love my enemies?

Palestinian children in Hamas combat uniforms celebrate the 32th anniversary of Hamas at the Rimal district of Gaza, Dec. 14, 2019. (Photo: Shutterstock)

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5: 44-45

Yeshua taught his followers to love their enemies. Once this was easy for me, growing up on a sheep farm in New Zealand. I had no enemies, none that wanted to kill me anyway. But now? As an Israeli, there are thousands of evil, twisted people living just next door, whose sole aim in life is to kill, rape, mutilate or capture me and my fellow countrymen. On October 7, they demonstrated what they can do, and since then they have been constantly threatening to carry out such acts again and again. How do I love them? Can I love them?

On the morning of October 7, as we woke to the horrors of the massacre taking place and the sound of incoming rockets and missiles, around 300,000 reserve soldiers, men and women, took up their grab bags and reported for duty, many even before they received the official call up. Reservists abroad raced to board the earliest possible flights to return home to answer the call, and thousands more soldiers arrived to take up arms. 

But what of those of us who could not go out to fight on the battlefront? At first, we were all stunned and in shock, but it didn’t take long before we realized we also had to mobilize. Another ‘army’ sprang into action.  Massive quantities of food, clothing and even military equipment were collected and distributed to the men and women of our army. Blood was donated and even mother’s breast milk, since even mothers with babies had answered the call to arms. I was amazed by the myriad initiatives and the creativity of the solutions. 

For every soldier mobilized a family was left behind, and a job, studies or a business abandoned with not even a moment’s notice.  Mothers found themselves suddenly ALONE taking care of their children, homes, and in some cases working as well, while their husbands were in mortal danger on the front lines. Neighbors and friends rushed to help. In places of work, colleagues needed to fill in the gaps, trying to keep businesses and services running, and the economy alive. It seemed that everyone was doing something, whatever they were able. One of my friends even baked hundreds of ANZAC biscuits for soldiers (my antipodean readers will know that these especially nutritious and long-lasting cookies have been sent to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers since WWI).

The civilian ‘home front soldiers’ are as important in a time of war as those on the front lines, though often the unsung heroes.  King David, when fighting the Amalekites who had raided Ziklag and taken captive the people of that city, instructed his army, saying:

For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.”  And from that day forward he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.

I Samuel 30: 24-25

In speaking these words, David acknowledged that those who stay behind and watch ‘the baggage’ deserve an equal share of the booty.  After all, if the ‘baggage’ is lost there is nothing to fight for, or return to, after victory is won.

In the first days of this current war, the practical supply of food, clothing and some military equipment provided by the home front was essential. Very quickly, however, the logistics units of the army got organized and supply lines began to flow.  Now, 157 days into the war, most of the reserve soldiers have been released home to rest and the need for practical, material help has diminished (though not ceased). 

As the first rush of war has now settled into the ‘new normal’ of learning to live during ongoing warfare, it seems to me that we are increasingly aware that the physical war is just the tip of the iceberg. Israel may be winning the war on the ground against Hamas, and with God’s help, we will survive, albeit wounded and grief-stricken. But this is not the whole story. It is only the tip of the iceberg. Even to call this war the Israel-Hamas war is erroneous. This war is much bigger than Israel or Hamas. 

The real war is spiritual. It is a great battle between the forces of God and the forces of His enemy, Satan. All throughout history as recorded in the Bible, Satan’s henchmen have fought against God’s plan of redemption. The people of Israel are central to God’s plan. They recorded and preserved the Torah Law and the Prophets, they brought forth the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus), established the Church, and wrote most of the New Testament. In our time, God has restored Israel to the Promised Land for she has yet an important future role to play, according to the prophecies. Satan is desperately trying to destroy Israel and derail God’s plan, which includes the final destruction of Satan himself in the fiery pit.  He has lied and deceived millions of people, Muslims, agnostics, atheists and even some who call themselves Christians. He has raised up armies to fight against Israel but much more insidiously, he has corrupted and brainwashed millions into a mindless hatred of the Jews and a culture of violence and murder. 

Israel may destroy the military machine of Hamas in Gaza, but our army cannot destroy the Islamic Jihadist ideology behind it. At least one whole generation of children have been indoctrinated into this genocidal death cult from the cradle, and in all Palestinian schools. As a result, the greatest aspiration of Gazan children is to kill Jews and become martyrs when they grow up. There is no education for peace and co-existence, only for jihad and the genocidal destruction of Israel, from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea. There is no hope for ‘peace and co-existence’ with such a generation. 

The Palestinian people not only are our sworn enemies, and we are their intended victims, but they are themselves victims of a Satanic lie. Those living in Gaza are now suffering the consequences and are to be much pitied. May God have mercy on them.

God brought Abraham from Ur and gave him the Land of Canaan, but God did not permit Abraham and his descendants to take possession of it until the fourth generation, saying, “…for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” (Genesis 15:16). God did however later drive out the Amorites (the inhabitants of the hill country of Canaan) because of the greatness of their sin (I Kings 21:26, Leviticus 18:25), and Israel took possession of the Promised Land. Among the many sins of the Amorites, as listed in Leviticus 18, was that they sacrificed their children by baking them alive in the arms of their false and evil god, Moloch. Is the sin of the Palestinians any less serious? They are sacrificing their children for jihad, in worship of their false god, Allah. Has the sin of the Palestinians reached its full measure? Will God dispossess them too? 

Only God knows, but I do know that God takes no pleasure in the death of any man (Ezekiel 18:32), and that the way of salvation in Yeshua is open to all men, Jew, Arab and Gentile alike. As those who follow Yeshua our ultimate goal must be the salvation of all who will believe. The only way to defeat the lie of Islam and this spiritual war is by prayer and fasting, and the declaration of Truth. 

We who call ourselves Christians or Messianic believers must answer the spiritual call-to-arms. Many of our young men and women took up guns and are fighting the physical war as they must, but we all, and especially those of us holding the home front, and even those Christians living elsewhere in the world, must take up our spiritual weapons against our true enemy, Satan.  

I have been greatly encouraged by the prayers and support of our brothers and sisters in the Lord around the world. These ones understand that this is not just Israel’s war but theirs too. At the most fundamental level, it is the war between the forces of God and the forces of Satan. 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms...  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Ephesians 6: 10-12, 18

My prayer is that Jew and Arab alike will repent of their sin, turn to the God of Israel, YHWH, and receive Yeshua as Savior and Lord. We must pray not only for Israel and for the repentance and salvation of all Jews, but we must also pray to support the witness and courage of our brethren in the Lord who remain in the Gaza Strip, and that the Holy Spirit would open the hearts of the Gazan people to the Truth. We must also pray that the Lie of Satan be exposed and destroyed. 

Yeshua does not expect us to have warm, fuzzy feelings for our sworn enemies, but he does expect us to love them by praying for them and speaking truth to them. This is the highest expression of love possible. Only if the Gazan people can be set free from their sin, their acceptance of the lies of the Enemy, and the evil Jihadist ideology, can there be any hope of peace and co-existence. Only God can do that.  

May God have mercy on us all and may Palestinian and Israeli alike find true release from sin and the oppression of the Enemy and be saved.  

Talia Voice grew up in New Zealand but came to Israel about 40 years ago. After teaching science in various schools, she is now retired and lives in Mevaseret Zion where she leads a home group and attends a congregation in Mevaseret. She is the author of the book “I’m Single, OK?” and writes on

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