Last week, a major air-strike claimed to have been conducted by the IDF penetrated into Syria, targeting Iranian and Hezbollah bases. The attack was carried out despite the protective umbrella of Russia, or, as one rabbi described America’s Cold War enemy, the prophesied “evil enemy from the north.”
For just over one hour on Thursday night, 15 Iranian and Hezbollah military targets in Syria were hit by the largest-ever missile strike. The attack was reported in Russia’s RIA news agency, which cited a Syrian security source as claiming that Israel was to blame for the attack. The Syrian source claimed that Syrian air defenses shot down an Israeli warplane and four missiles. RIA later amended that to say the Syrians shot down several targets, not including an Israeli plane.
Israel has refused to comment on the incident other than confirming that fragments of Syrian anti-air missiles were found in the Golan Heights near the border with Syria several hours after the alleged attack.
Debka, an English-language Israeli military intelligence website, reported that a long-range GPS-guided artillery weapon system (LORA) with a range of 250 miles was used in the attack, as well as a short-range missile system.
Among the targets was a Hezbollah base at al-Kiswa in western Syria believed to be a weapons depot for both Hezbollah and Iran. Iran’s central command post south of Damascus, known as “Glass House,” was hit along with a base near the Damascus airport, which is believed to be a storehouse for missiles.
Director of the Syria Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, said, “It appears the Israelis had intelligence that weapons had arrived there recently.”
The strikes were successful despite the advanced Russian S-300 anti-air system being deployed in Syria.
These are the first Israeli military strikes inside Syria since September, when Syrian anti-aircraft fire downed a Russian plane resulting in 15 Russian military personnel being killed. Russia blamed Israel and in the wake of the incident, supplied the Syrians with the advanced S-300 anti-air system. The S-300 is reportedly not yet operational.
Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of days author and prominent Torah scholar, believes Russia’s influence in the situation developing to the north of Israel adds strong Messianic overtones.
“Russia is very Magog-like,” Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News. “Hashgacha pratit (Divine intervention) is always there, pushing things towards geula (redemption), vacillating from the obvious to the not-so-obvious.”
“Iran is another major power and Syria, who really has no power, is the power broker, balancing between communism and Shiism,” Rabbi Winston said. “At this point, anything, even something that seems insignificant, could be a trigger for the War of Gog and Magog.”
Hezbollah responded to Thursday’s attack by releasing a video on Friday showing satellite images and map locations of strategic sites inside Israel. The video, complete with Hebrew subtitles, came with the warning, “Attack and you will regret it.” In the video, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, warned that the Lebanese terror group would respond to any attack on Lebanon.
Israel has admitted to carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria to prevent an Iranian military presence along its northern border and to prevent shipments of weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel has not carried out attacks inside Lebanon, though Hezbollah is known to have a formidable arsenal of missiles.
The recent strike comes one week after reports that U.S. warplanes were operating over Syria around the clock. Many of the airplanes are operating from the aircraft carrier, USS Harry Truman, stationed in the Mediterranean. Also operating in the region is the Russian Middle East fleet composed of eight vessels.
Rabbi Ken Spiro, a historian and Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, sees the major factor in the international mix as being Russian support of Syria and Iran.
“The Bible mentions the idea of an enemy from the north and certainly during the Cold War Russia matched that description,” Rabbi Spiro told Breaking Israel News, citing the description in Jeremiah.
Thus said Hashem: See, a people comes from the northland, A great nation is roused From the remotest parts of the earth. They grasp the bow and javelin; They are cruel, they show no mercy; The sound of them is like the roaring sea. They ride upon horses, Accoutered like a man for battle, Against you, O Fair Tzion! Jeremiah 6:22-23
“It isn’t an accident that their name is Russia,” he said, noting that it is pronounced almost exactly like the Hebrew word rasha (evil). “They have always been the great adversary of Israel and the U.S. In the 1990S with the fall of communism they faded. But now they are back and stronger than ever in the Middle East, greatly complicating Israel’s ability to act in its own defense.”
Rabbi Spiro noted the mismatched philosophies in a military alliance between communism and Islam.
“On one hand, I prefer the communists,” Rabbi Spiro said. “They don’t believe in God, so if it comes down to a nuclear standoff, they will hesitate because they don’t believe in heaven so they won’t be so quick to destroy the world.”
“If a radical Islamic country ever gets their hands on a nuclear weapon, they won’t hesitate to push the launch button because they believe they will be heading for their72 virgins,” he said.
Rabbi Spiro believes that after decades of threats from the neighboring Arab countries, Israel had achieved a reasonable level of military security. But he noted that this security was lost when Russia entered the picture.
“During the Obama administration, America squandered decades of work at getting the Soviet Union out of the Middle East,” Rabbi Spiro said. “They were out of the picture. Now, communism has reemerged as Putinism and Russia has reentered the Middle East with a vengeance, aligning with Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah.”
“Now, perhaps more than ever, these developing alliances could be an end-of-days, potentially Gog and Magog scenario,” Rabbi Spiro warned.
Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi, a mystic rabbi with a strong following in Israel, described the situation in Syria in his weekly online sermon last week, describing the significant role the U.S. will play in the Middle East.
“Syria will continue to kill and be killed. It won’t end,” Rabbi Ben Artzi said. “The hand of God is guiding what happens there. Whoever tries to act in Syria in order to harm Israel will be messing with God. The IDF is in control and has learned how to deal with all of the missiles and weapons they have. Hezbollah and Nasrallah are waiting for weapons from Iran but they will never arrive.”
“Iran is strutting around like a peacock but if Trump decides to deal with them, he will wipe them out. Nations today should learn not to mess with him.”