More claims of divine intervention are being reported in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, with an operator of Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system saying he personally witnessed “the hand of God” diverting an incoming rocket out of harm’s way.
Israel Today translated a report from a Hebrew-language news site, which noted the Iron Dome battery failed three times to intercept an incoming rocket headed toward Tel Aviv last week.
The commander recalled: “A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.
“We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident.
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“Suddenly, 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 commander’s account is reminiscent of a recent newspaper headline which trumpeted the possibility of supernatural protection.
“Their God changes the path of our rockets in mid-air, said a terrorist,” was the headline in the July 18 edition of the Jewish Telegraph.
It was a partial quote from Barbara Ordman, who lives in Ma’ale Adumim on the West Bank.
Her exact quotation was: “As one of the terrorists from Gaza was reported to say when asked why they couldn’t aim their rockets more effectively: “We do aim them, but their God changes their path in mid-air.”
She opened her piece by noting: “In October 1956, [Israeli Prime Minister] David Ben Gurion was interviewed by CBS. He stated: ‘In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.’”
Ordman also noted religious texts, specifically the Jerusalem Talmud, teaches Israelis not to depend on miracles for survival.
“It argues that we must not desist from our obligations and must not wait for miraculous intervention from the Supernatural,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, the Times of Israel reported a senior officer in Israel’s army said divine miracles protected his soldiers during fighting in the Gaza Strip.
Givati Brigade commander Col. Ofer Winter told the weekly publication Mishpacha that he “witnessed a miraculous occurrence, the likes of which he had never seen before during his military career.”
Winter indicated a predawn raid intended to use darkness as cover was delayed, forcing the soldiers to move toward their objective as sunrise was approaching.
With the troops in danger of being exposed at daybreak, Winter explained how heavy fog quickly descended to shroud their movements until their mission was accomplished.
“Suddenly a cloud protected us,” he said, referring to clouds the Bible says guided the ancient Israelites as they wandered in the desert. “Clouds of glory.”
Winter said only when the soldiers were in a secure position, the fog finally lifted.
“It really was a fulfillment of the verse ‘For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to give you victory,’” he said, quoting Deuteronomy 20:4.
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The Times of Israel notes Winter made headlines over an official letter he sent to battalion and company commanders July 9, telling his subordinates that “history has chosen us to spearhead the fighting (against) the terrorist ‘Gazan’ enemy which abuses, blasphemes and curses the God of Israel’s (defense) forces.”
The dispatch came under fire from some, since it portrayed the Operation Protective Edge as a religious war against non-Jews. The Israeli government’s stated aim is to stop rocket attacks at Israel and destroy a network of tunnels dug under the border from Gaza used to launch terror attacks inside Israeli territory.
In his interview with Mishpacha, Winter defended his message, saying everyone finds God when in combat.
“Anyone who attacked me for the letter apparently has only seen weapons in pictures, was never in combat, and doesn’t know what fighting spirit is,” he said, revealing that before going into action his custom was to recite the blessing with which the ancient Israelite priests would bless the army before it went to war.
“When a person is in a life-threatening situation he connects with his deepest internal truths, and when that happens, even the biggest atheist meets God,” he said, claiming soldiers see so many miracles, “it is hard not to believe [in God].”