Let’s continue to take an in-depth look at how prophecies concerning Israel were fulfilled in the 20th Century and continue to be fulfilled to this day, particularly as they relate to the resurgence of the Israeli military.
The prophet Ezekiel referred to the revival of Israel in the last days as producing “an exceedingly great army” (Ezekiel 37:10). Zechariah was more specific. He prophesied that God would make “the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves,” enabling them to “consume on the right hand and on the left” all their enemies (Zechariah 12:6). He proceeded to state that in the end times, the nation will be so strong that the “feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord before them” (Zechariah 12:8).
Operation Opera (June 1981)
In 1976 Iraq purchase an “Osiris-class” nuclear reactor from France. The site chosen for the reactor was about 10 miles southeast of Baghdad. It was given the name of Osirak.
While both France and Iraq claimed that the Osirak reactor was for peaceful scientific research, the Israelis viewed the whole project with great suspicion. When both American and Israeli intelligence sources confirmed Iraq’s intention to use the reactor to develop nuclear weapons, the Israelis launched an intensive diplomatic effort to try to halt the French financial and scientific support for the project, but all diplomatic efforts failed.27
In early 1981 when the Israeli Cabinet received word that a shipment of 90 kilograms of enriched uranium fuel rods was expected to be supplied by France any moment, they decided to prepare for an immediate attack.28 This decision was, of course, prompted by a desire to prevent the reactor from being activated. But it was also motivated by a concern that if the attack occurred after activation, it would pose a radiation threat to the inhabitants of Baghdad.29
The mission to destroy the Osirak reactor was launched on June 7, 1981. The attack squadron consisted of eight F-16s, each with two 2,000 pound bombs, and six F-15s, which were assigned the task of providing fighter support.30
The planes flew low over Saudi Arabia to avoid radar detection. They caught the Iraqis by complete surprise and completely destroyed the reactor in an attack that took less than two minutes. All the Israeli planes returned home safely.
In a weird coincidence, King Hussein of Jordan was vacationing on his yacht in the Gulf of Aqaba at the time. Since the Israeli jets took off from the Etzion airbase in the southern Negev desert, they flew directly over the King’s yacht, and when he saw them, he immediately jumped to the conclusion that they were headed to Iraq to bomb the Osirak reactor. He called his office in Amman and asked them to send an urgent warning to Iraq, but for some unknown reason, the warning was never received by the Iraqis.31
Also, it was learned after the attack that half an hour before the Israeli planes arrived, the group of Iraqi soldiers manning the anti-aircraft defenses for the reactor had left their posts for an afternoon meal, and they had turned off their radar detectors.32
The leader of the attack force, Ze’ev Raz, was interviewed in 2007 by the Jewish Press. As he was recounting the events, the interviewer said, “The way you are describing it, it sounds like an outright miracle.” Raz responded, “Absolutely. Of course it was a miracle. How is it possible that even after we bombed the reactor not one plane tried to down us?” He then continued with an amazing observation:33
I’ll tell you something else: It takes an hour and a half to get back from Iraq to Israel and we were flying 40,000 feet above the ground.
The General Staff originally wanted us to carry out the bombing after sunset so it would be harder for the Iraqis to attack us on the way back. But I was opposed to that. I thought if we did the bombing after sunset there wouldn’t be enough light and our planes would miss their target — so I insisted that the bombing take place before sunset.
As a result, we flew back as the sun was setting. But since the planes were traveling [so high and] at such a fast speed, the sun was out all the time and never set. It was as though it remained standing in the middle of the horizon.
At that time we pilots all radioed each other reciting the same exact biblical verse — Joshua 10:12: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and moon, over the Valley of Ayalon.”
In the seventh and last segment of this series on the resurgence of the Israeli military as a sign of the end times, we will look at the powerful promises God has made to Israel.
27) Peter Scott Ford, “Israel’s Attack on Osariq: A Model for Future Preventive Strikes?” Master’s thesis presented to the Naval Postgraduate School, September 2004, page 3. Available on the Internet at http://www.fas.org/man/eprint/ford.pdf, pages 3, 17-20.
28) Moshe Fuksman-Sha’al, Israel’s Strike Against the Iraqi Nuclear Reactor 7 June, 1981 — a Collection of Articles and Lectures, (Jerusalem: Menachem Begin Heritage Center, 2003 edition). From the chapter by Rafael Eitan entitled, “The Raid on the Reactor from the Point of View of the Chief of Staff.”
29) Jewish Virtual Library, “Operation Opera: The Israeli Raid on the Osirak Nuclear Reactor,” www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Osirak.html, page 6.
30) Moshe Fuksman-Sha’al, chapter by Rafael Eitan.
32) Gary Solis, The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarianism in War (Cambridge U. Press, 2010), page 182.
33) Avraham Shmuel Lewin, “Osirak Revisited,” FrontPage magazine, The Jewish Press, December 18, 2007. Available on the Internet at http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=29258.