Oración sobre el amor y la agresión

Shani Ferguson
Por Shani Ferguson
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Spontaneous time of worship with the team in Pennsylvania

How’s your summer going so far?

Kobi and I and the kids just finished up our final round of weekend services, as this past weekend in Alabama we concluded what may be our last full family ministry trip together. This is because our eldest may be in the army by the time next summer rolls around.

For us, the Maoz Israel Music tour is in the books. We spent a week in beautiful Pennsylvania and led worship several evenings. From there we went to Texas for the Maoz Generations conference. Between incredible moments in the presence of God, long car rides and summer rainstorms, there’s a lot to share. So, to do the experience justice, I’ll be writing about it in the next Maoz Israel Report with photos and details. In the meantime, several of our team members (some who have never been to the U.S. before) took an extra week to spend with their families and by the end of July we’ll all be back in full force preparing for fall happenings.

Concerning Crime vs. Terrorism

This past week, an Israeli satirical TV show spoofed the news regarding Israelis’ attitudes toward the recent increase in criminal violence in Israel. In the skit, news broke about three people found murdered. Considering the occurrence, the newscaster informed viewers that all prime-time entertainment was going to be suspended as they investigated the case. When, in the skit, they concluded the murders were seemingly criminally based or domestic violence and not terrorism, the newscaster told viewers that their prime-time reality shows would be shown that evening after all. In one sense it was rebuking Israelis for caring less about those killed by criminals than those killed by terrorists. But it also demonstrated that Israelis want to understand the scope of terrorist attacks so they know if they should take precautions going forward, but they don’t have appetites for crime TV.

For most of my life crime in Israel has been negligible in comparison to other countries. It’s funny to us that people are often scared to come here because of what they see on the news, when statistically, Israeli cities are safer than most because our crime rate is so low. I always felt that the solidarity people felt in Israel because we were constantly under attack by terrorism left little appetite for Israelis to attack each other. This has changed significantly in the post-lockdown world. I don’t know if the long lockdowns caused many to snap psychologically or the lack of human interaction and added time with devices diminished the human empathy Israelis usually have in abundance for each other, but 2022 has been characterized by a dramatic spike in aggression and violence in every age bracket.

It’s all a vicious cycle once a society begins to decline in an area. The financial struggle exacerbated by the pandemic means parents work longer hours meaning the kids at home have less family time. Less family time means more unsupervised screen time—or more street time.

Stealing is one of the more adventurous “gateway crimes” young Israelis will try out and they test the waters to see if a “life of crime” is for them. Unfortunately, theft has long been an issue because the laws are so lenient and “loopholed,” it’s hard to catch and convict thieves. One newscaster doing a story on the issue once said, “I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said, ‘it pays’ to be a thief in Israel.” Even if you are caught and convicted, sentences are light. One of the people being covered in that news story was a guy who had been convicted over 60 times of theft and was still out on the streets.

A perfect example of the deficiency in the laws is the gangs of car thieves. If someone steals your car and two blocks down the road they get out and another person gets in, you can’t charge the second person with stealing your car as by law it was given to him by a friend. The actual thief is in and out of the picture in less than five minutes. Also, the territories governed by the Palestinian authority are just 15-20 minutes from virtually every major area of population. And, once your car crosses into the territories, Israeli authorities won’t pursue it. The same rules apply for your flocks, farming equipment and your TV.

About 15 years ago my engagement ring—a family heirloom—was stolen by the house cleaner we hired when we moved to another apartment. I hadn’t been wearing it as my fingers had swollen during pregnancy and I had just given birth when we were moving so it was still in the drawer. When we discovered the theft—even knowing who had done it—we didn’t go to the police. We knew the ring was long gone and they wouldn’t have much recourse with existing laws to do anything to the cleaner. Just to note the faithfulness of God, however, about a year later someone came up to us and gave us a beautiful ring. They didn’t know our story, but to us it was God’s way of saying, “I can make things right even when man can’t.” I still wear that ring today.

  • Father, You are the God of all that is righteous and true.
  • We will not give You rest until You make Jerusalem a place of praise among the nations!
  • For Israel to be praised among the nations, her inhabitants must live holy and righteous lives. Let this happen in our day.
  • Pour out a spirit of righteousness on the people, that they will desire to do good.
  • Help Israelis love one another just as You commanded them.
  • Give opportunities for those who live uprightly to be publicly respected.
  • May Israeli children be able to find worthy role models that they will want to emulate.
  • Shut out media access (especially to young audiences) that glorifies evil and lawless behavior.
  • Most people, given the chance, want to be the hero who did the right thing. Create opportunities for those who wish to do good—to be able to do it.
  • Let the good they feel when they do right overshadow the adrenaline rush they get when they commit crimes.
  • As You turn their hearts toward righteousness, may You also show them how to turn toward You.
  • Some of those involved in crime have simply gotten in with the wrong crowd. Send them a friend or neighbor who will encourage them to do the right thing. Give them a chance to get out and make amends before it’s too late.
  • As righteousness and love for one another in Israel grows, may it spread to the nations.
  • May Your people fulfill Your call for them to be a light to the nations.
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