Israel at War


Their use of Technology in the End Times


John Hoole – November 25, 2012



Since Christ first promised to return, Christians have wondered if their generation would be the one to witness the fulfillment of that promise.  And Christians in every generation since has thought itself to be the last generation.  They would base their belief on the perceived or actual decline in moral standards of their day.  Yet for all the speculation and hearsay, only one generation can be the final generation.  And, of course, all the evidence points to ours.


For centuries, Christians have used anecdotal evidence, such as “things have never been so bad,” or “look at all the evil in the world.”  This was the primary basis for believing theirs was the last generation of this age.  And yet, very few actual biblical signs of Christ’s return, if any at all, were present for these generations.


Now fast-forward to the present day when almost every sign of Christ’s return is present.  Israel is once again a nation after 2,500 years of absence.  Some of the prophets who wrote about the end times, described things that certainly would require great changes in technology.


Daniel 12:4 (NKJV) recorded these words:

4       "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."


Daniel was a man gifted by God to reveal dreams and visions.  God gave him supernatural wisdom.  He provides visions and prophesies about the rise and fall of nations right up to the end of the age. We just read part of one of Daniel’s vision.  And yet, despite the gifts God gave him, he admits his unease about what he had just written.  He did not understand all of what he had seen and written, and asked God for an explanation.  But God told him that as the time of the culmination of history neared, not only would the meaning of Daniel’s words but all of prophecy would become ever more clear.


Over the past two weeks, we have seen multiple news reports of what is happening between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which are controlled by HAMAS.  We have witnessed the firing of rockets by Hamas and bombing sorties by Israel.  You can watch it in almost real-time.


The Israelis called this battle Operation Pillar of Defense.  That is what it is called for western nations.  But in Hebrew, it is called Operation Pillar of Cloud, obviously a reference to the Pillar of Cloud that protected and guided the Israelites in their 40 years of wilderness wanderings.


Now that a cease fire has been agreed to, there are a few observation.  Both sides claim to have won the battle.  Most Israelis are disappointed the cease fire came so quickly, and are still uneasy.  Most communities in the south proceed with great caution.


Here are some statistics from the Israeli side.  When the conflict began, Israel targeted four main locations.


         •  Long-range rocket locations, which they feared the most.’


         •  Rocket launchers


         •  Tunnels used to smuggle from Egypt into Gaza.


         •  Hamas leadership and their buildings.




•  Israel destroyed most of the long-range rockets.


•  Gaza had 10,000 short-range rockets before the conflict and they launched 1,500 during the short battle.  Israel destroyed many of the remaining.


•  1,000 rocket launchers were destroyed.


•  They did destroy some of the tunnels.


•  Many Hamas leaders homes and headquarters were destroyed.


•  Iran has admitted supporting Hamas with equipment.


We have also learned that for the first time since the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Syria forces have fired upon Israeli vehicles and Israel has returned the fire.  On two occasions, Israel has returned fire, one a direct hit on a vehicle.


Today’s technology allows us to witness the ongoing activity as if you were actually there.  I have watched many videos on-line from the vantage point as if I were actually sitting in the pilot’s seat watching the radar lock on to a target, then two or three seconds later see the missile destroy that target.


If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much more so are moving pictures?  Technology has changed the very nature and scope of war itself.  Where combat was once primarily a one-on-one “in your face” affair, our science is turning it into something increasingly impersonal, and yet more deadly.


At this point I need to mention two caveats as it relates to this lesson.


1.  None of the material I present is of a classified nature.


2.  While I am strongly pro-Israel, I don’t always agree with what they do.


Now, let’s step back a few years to see a backdrop to the current conflict between Israel and Gaza.  Let’s take a look at those who promulgate and encourage such conflicts.  There are factions of people and governments that are not in this daily conflict, but who hope to benefit from it and encourage it.


Most, probably all, of you are aware of the concern Israel has had over Iran’s venture into the world of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.  Along with these possibilities, the rhetoric from Iran is that they want to use such weapons to “wipe Israel from the face of the earth.”  So says Iran’s prime minister, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


Israel has obtained little support for stopping Iran and their nuclear weapons program.  Over the last three years, there has been several points in time where it was thought Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear sites, even without the help of others.


But during this time, Israel has not lessened their covert activity.  They are engaging in what is called by some, the War in the Shadows.  The information I am sharing with you today does not mean I support all that Israel is doing.  I do, however, believe Israel has the right to protect its own existence.  And it is the results of Israel’s covert activity that has delayed any physical military action.


On January 12, 2010, Dr. Masoud Ali-Mohammadi stepped out of his home in a northern suburb of Tehran.   The physicist was not simply a professor at the University of Tehran.  He was one of Iran’s leading nuclear scientists and was believed to be helping Iran pursue the Bomb.  As Ali-Mohammadi got into his car, a remote-controlled bomb on an adjacent vehicle exploded,


While nobody has stated who did the assassination, Israel was among those thought to have done it.  In this environment, they always will be accused.  I will admit that when I heard of this assassination, my first thought was, “Israel must behind it.”


Then, on January 19— precisely one week after Dr. Ali-Mohammadi’s death— another assassination.  Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, 50, was found murdered in a Dubai hotel room in the United Arab Emirates only an hour after having arrived at the hotel.  Al-Mabhouh was a founder of Hamas’s military wing and he was close to the regime in Tehran.  He was responsible for buying weapons from Iran and getting those weapons smuggled into Gaza.


September of 2010 brought whispers of an even more dramatic escalation in the covert war against Iran’s nuclear program. A mysterious and devastating computer virus dubbed “Stuxnet”—  arguably the most aggressive computer virus thus far in history — was infiltrating computers throughout Iran and metastasizing rapidly.


The “worm,” as some computer viruses are called, demonstrated a well-resourced entity had the capacity to use cyber capabilities to fragment command and control structures.  It had the ability to disrupt and undermine critical infrastructures in major ways.


These cyber attacks were capable of targeting specific locations and sites, or target specific types of hardware and processes.  The Stuxnet virus was able to disable or cause malfunctions on several thousand centrifuges which are used to enrich uranium to weapons grade levels.


In the words of former CIA Director, Michael Hayden:  “The rest of the world is looking at this and saying, ‘Clearly someone has legitimated this kind of activity as acceptable international conduct.”  And in June 2011, current US Secretary of defense Leon Panetta warned, in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee:  “The next Pearl Harbor we confront could very well be a cyber attack that cripples our power systems, our grid, our security systems, our financial systems, our governmental systems.”


The Stuxnet virus of unknown origin began suddenly plaguing computer systems at nuclear facilities and other industrial plants throughout the Islamic Republic of Iran.   The effect appears to be so severe that Iran had to announce at least a two-month delay in the launch of online operations at its Bushehr [nuclear] reactor that the Russians helped build.  An estimated thirty thousand computers in Iran have been infected.  Neither the CIA nor Israel’s intelligence arm, Mossad, has commented, much less claimed credit.  Nor are they likely to do so.


It may be that the relative success of this ongoing and intensifying covert war inside Iran accounts for why Israel has not taken direct military action thus far.”  Stuxnet was definitely a game-changer.  The attack rattled the industry.  It opened people’s eyes to the fact that a cyber event can actually result in physical damage.


On September 27, 2010, Hamid Alipour, deputy head of Iran’s Information Technology Co., said: “We had anticipated that we could root out the virus within one to two months, but the virus is not stable, and since we started the cleanup process three new versions of it have been spreading.”  It has spread as of September 27, 2012 to at least 45,000 computers, mostly in Iran and Sudan.


After Stuxnet was discovered and became public knowledge, The New York Times, among many others, then ran this intriguing story:  “In a Computer Worm, a Possible Biblical Clue.”


Reporters John Markoff and David Sanger wrote:


“Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the book of Esther, the Old Testament tale in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them. That use of the word ‘Myrtus’— which can be read as an allusion to Esther— to name a file inside the code is one of several murky clues that have emerged as computer experts try to trace the origin and purpose of the rogue Stuxnet program.”


Queen Esther's original Hebrew name was reportedly "Hadassah, which is similar to the Hebrew word for myrtle."  In the Book of Esther, Jewish forces -- after unraveling a Persian attack plan – staged a preemptive and successful assault against their adversaries.


Not surprisingly, the Israelis are not saying whether Stuxnet has any connection to the secretive cyberwar unit it has built inside Israel’s intelligence service.


During the remaining months of 2010, the Stuxnet virus continued to spread that fall and take down large numbers of Iranian nuclear computers as well as uranium processing equipment.  The covert war against the Islamic Republic continued in the shadows.


On November 29, 2010, another Iranian nuclear scientist was mysteriously killed.   “A magnetic bomb placed by a motorcyclist killed nuclear physicist Majid Shahriari in his car.”   That same day, a fourth top Iranian nuclear scientist was nearly killed.   “Fereydoon Abbasi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, was wounded when a motorcyclist detonated a magnetic bomb under [his] car by remote control.  Abbasi was on a U.N. list of people sanctioned for suspected links to nuclear activities.”


On July 23, 2011, another Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated.   35-year-old Darioush Rezaeinejad, was shot in the neck outside his daughter’s Tehran kindergarten on Saturday by two gunmen on a motorcycle.”  ABC News reported. “According to an unconfirmed report in an Israeli intelligence publication, Rezaeinejad was working on a nuclear detonator and was seen daily at a nuclear lab in northern Tehran.”


On November 12, 2011, a massive explosion occurred at one of Iran’s key missile bases.  Iranian officials claimed it was an accident, but speculation was rampant that the explosion was another Mossad covert operation.  In light of who was killed, such speculation may have been accurate.


“The blast at the Alghadir missile base at Bid Ganeh was so powerful it rattled windows thirty miles away in Tehran,” the U.K. Guardian reported.   “Witnesses said it sounded like a huge bomb had been dropped.  Seventeen of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards were killed, among them, Major General Haqssan Moghaddam, a man described by his peers as the ‘architect’ of the country’s missile program,


Sixteen days later, on November 28, 2011, there was another mysterious but enormous explosion.  This time at the Iranian nuclear facility in Isfahan, a site known to be used for uranium enrichment.


Two weeks after that, on December 11, 2011, there was a massive explosion at a steel factory in the Yazd province.  The factory was believed to be producing materials for Iran’s missile or nuclear program or possibly both.  Seven workers died in the blast, while twelve others were injured.


In May of this year (2012), another cyber weapon was discovered in Iran, which was 50 times as powerful as Stuxnet.  The size of the computer code was about 40 times the size of Stuxnet (20mb vs. .5mb).  Unlike Stuxnet, which was primarily to sabotage and inflict damage, this virus was to secretly gather intelligence.  Once it was on a computer, it could remotely take screen shots of the infected computer.  It placed an audio recording process on the computer, where it could listen to any conversation within the room of the computer.  It could actually intercept keyboard inputs, and wipe data from the computer on command.  That included wiping the virus worm off the infected computer as soon as it had produced what they were looking for.


This virus has been labeled the FLAME VIRUS, based on the name of one of its modules.  By dissecting some of the virus code, it appears Flame was operational for more than two years.  It remained undetected by security software for that long.  It evaded detection by masquerading as a routine Microsoft software update.


To make it more difficult to track its origin, a small sub-module could be placed on a computer without doing any damage or gather any intelligence.  But as soon as a USB flash drive was connected to the computer, it would immediately put the complete virus on it.  And whenever that USB flash drive was input to another computer, that computer would become a resident of the virus.  In one week this year (March 25 to April 2), 5,377 unique IP addresses were affected, the vast majority in Iran (3,702) and Sudan (1,280).  It has been estimated that the number of victims of the Flame virus exceeds 10,000 computers.


The Israeli Mossad noticed that Iran was building enormous new uranium enrichment facilities in tunnels deep under large mountains and was preparing to move its entire nuclear program into these facilities.  Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak and his military intelligence specialists now spoke privately to the prime minister about a new danger that Barak called the “zone of immunity.”  The phrase “zone of immunity” was not the point at which Iran would necessarily have built operational atomic bombs but the point at which Iran’s nuclear program would be immune from an Israeli attack.   The problem was that as soon as Iran was able to move its program into the hardened underground facilities, Israel’s military capabilities would no longer prove decisive.


By late Spring, 2012, Ehud Barak and his team had developed a detailed, credible, and effective plan of attack.   They had convinced Netanyahu that they had enough fighter jets, refueling tankers, missiles, bunker-buster bombs, and other munitions and intelligence to effectively attack Iran’s nuclear program and set it back for at least two to five years.  But they would have to execute the plan before the “zone of immunity” had come to an end.


On Sept. 7, 2012,  Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper— arguably the most pro-Israel leader on the planet today—  ordered the Canadian embassy in Tehran closed and all Canadian diplomats to leave Iran immediately.  He also ordered the Iranian embassy in Ottawa closed and gave Iranian diplomats and staff five days to leave the country.  It was a move quickly applauded by Netanyahu.


That very same month (Sept. 2012), the world began to learn of a curious new development at Iran’s Fordow uranium enrichment plant, the one being built in tunnels deep inside a mountain near the religious city of Qom.  First we learned Fereydoun Abbasi, Iran’s Vice President and chief of nuclear energy, that an explosion occurred at the Fordow plant in on August 17, 2012.  The explosion was so severe that it destroyed the power lines that fed the plant with electricity from a power station in Qom.  Abbasi also reported the power to the Natanz nuclear site had also had its power destroyed.  Cutting power is also a way to break down a centrifuge machine.


This shut down the nuclear plant that the Israelis most feared could move Iran into the “zone of immunity.”   This is the place Ehud Barak had in mind when speaking of  the “zone of immunity.”  Then we slowly began to learn more details from Western intelligence officials about how the explosion occurred.  “A monitoring device disguised as a rock exploded last month when Iranian troops near Fordow nuclear plant disturbed it,”


The Sunday Times of London and the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.   “According to the report, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard were on patrol last month to check terminals connecting data and telephone links at the underground nuclear enrichment plant, when they realized the rock was not real.  When the fake rock was moved, it blew up and not only destroyed evidence of who might have put the device there, but also severed the power lines into the Iranian nuclear facility?  Iranian experts who examined the scene of the explosion found the remains of a device capable of intercepting phone calls, e-mails and data from computers at the plant.  The war in the shadows was getting more interesting by the day, regardless of whether it was the Israelis or the Americans who were behind this latest intriguing twist.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) took out a weapons factory located in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan.  It was a weapons factory run by Sudanese and Iranians.  And from here, they would smuggle rockets into the Gaza Strip.


This was not a covert action.  Involved were:


         •  (8) F15i fighter aircraft,

         •  (2) CH-53 helicopters,

         •  (1) Gulfstream electronic warfare plane and

         •  (1) Boeing KC135 refueling tanker.


The length of the flight was about 1,200 miles each way.  The electronic warfare plane scramble all ground communications, and all the Russian-made MIG-29s on the ground slept during the whole thing.


Now we know why many of the cyber attacks affected not only Iran, but also Sudan.  But what prompted Israel to take close notice on what was happening in Sudan.  Earlier I mentioned an assassination in a hotel room in Dubai.  Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the person assassinated, had some important papers on him.  He was head of the military wing of Hamas.  And he was carrying an agreement between Iran and Sudan that permitted Iran to manufacture weapons and rockets in Sudan.  For the past two years, Israel has watched the operation in Sudan, partly with their use of cyber espionage (Flame Virus).




What does all this mean?  What connection does all of this have with End Times Prophecy?  Why is the world’s attention focused so much on Israel and Jerusalem?  We might find one reason for this attention in the biblical book of Zechariah.  It doesn’t provide all the answers to the world’s obsession with Israel and their neighbors, but it will give us some insight and clues.


In the first nine verses of Zechariah 12, we find Jerusalem mentioned nine times.  The words “people” and “nations” occur six times.  And from verse 8, it is clearly speaking of Jerusalem in the last days.


Let’s read the first three verses for now.


Zechariah 12:1-3 NKJV


1       The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:

2       "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.

3       And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.


While this chapter of prophecy is addressing in part what will happen during the Tribulation, we can today see the precursor of what it tells us.  The nations of earth will increasingly focus upon Jerusalem in the last days.  This is a city with few natural resources, no harbor, and no longer lies on a critical caravan route.


The past and current peace agreements are doomed to failure.  It is based on a false assumption that says the key issue is the size of Israel and that by reducing the borders of Israel, we will have peace.  It isn’t the size of Israel that is the issue.  It is the existence of Israel that is the issue.  Jerusalem is a cup of trembling and a burdensome stone for all nations.


I love the way the prophet Zechariah, by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, starts this prophecy.  The same God who created heaven and earth, who gave man His spirit (Gen. 2:7) at creation, who spoke the first word in world history even before man existed, this same God will also have the last word concerning Jerusalem.


After a Gaza truce deal came into effect this past Wednesday (11/21/12), Hamas chief, Khaled Meshaal said that Israel had “failed in all its goals,”  and thanked Egypt and Iran for their support during the conflict.  But, again, God will have the last word on the future of Jerusalem.


The first verse says that this promise comes directly from God Himself.  In its battle over Jerusalem the world is dealing with Almighty God, the Creator.


Writing in the 7th century before Christ, Zechariah didn’t know about Islam.  But God does tell him that Jerusalem will be surrounded by nations intent on her harm.  Israel is a tiny oasis in the middle of a gigantic Arab-Islamic world.


Zechariah 12:2 NKJV


2       "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.


The peoples around  seem to be intoxicated with possessing the city of Jerusalem.  And a drunken man often feels stronger than he actually is.  He can no longer assess a situation realistically.  He becomes boastful and careless.  And today we hear and see such action by leaders in surrounding countries.


Zechariah 12:3 (NKJV) adds:


3       And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.


The enemies of Israel and Jerusalem want to eradicate them from the earth.  They want to remove this burdensome stone.  But God has promised that any who try to dislodge or move her will themselves be cut by her.  Verse 6, which we did not read, say that all who attack Israel will themselves be burned.  However, Jerusalem will remain where she is because God’s promises stand forever.


What happens to Jerusalem affects the rest of the world.  God has told us it will become the center of attention and conflict.  The peace treaty brokered this week (11/21/12) will not last.  The people around Jerusalem are still drunken with hatred.


Bible prophecy continue to rapidly unfold even as I write this.  Yes, Jerusalem has become the “burdensome stone” that prophet Zechariah wrote about 2,500 years ago.  At the time Zechariah wrote these words, Jerusalem lay in ruins.  The city and temple had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.  But God promised through many Old Testament prophets that Jerusalem will again be built and become anathema to her neighbors.


The Lord, our Lord, will one day – and I think soon – return to His city.  Our Lord came the first time exactly as Scripture said He would.  He is sure to return a second time, as He promised, and when He does, He will sit on His throne in the city of Jerusalem.