An Israeli Christian leader believes that Satan is at work through the terrorist group Hamas and the ever-increasing threat of Hezbollah, arguing that there cannot be peace in the region until both forces are defeated.
Shadi Khalloul, director of strategic partnerships at the Alma Research and Education Center, a nonprofit that analyzes security issues on Israel's northern border, recently spoke with The Christian Post about the ongoing conflict impacting Israel and Gaza.
Khalloul is also the president of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association NGO, a group that seeks to revive the Aramaic language and also encourages Christians to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. The ICAA president resides in a community in northern Israel comprised of Aramaean Christians for the purpose of preserving the Aramaic language, which Jesus spoke.
Following Hamas' Oct. 7 assault on Israel that left over 1,400 Israelis dead, there have been fears that the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah would join the fight.
According to the Institute for National Security Studies, Hezbollah has an arsenal of destructive weapons, and the group's regular and reserve is estimated to be between 50,000 and 100,000 fighters.
"All they care about is to wipe out Israel and kill Jews and Israelis," Khalloul told CP.
"And so for me, as a Christian living in the border and as a loyal citizen of the state of Israel, an Israeli, of course, I am worried," Khalloul added. "As a father, I don't want to live with this monster that is just sitting here in my borders."
For there to be peace, Khalloul asserted that Hezbollah and Hamas must be dismantled and disarmed.
"This is Satan, and with Satan, there is no peace," he said. "With Satan, you need to defeat the evil, and if we don't defeat the evil, we will not have peace."
Khalloul warned that there are many strategic areas in Israel that Hezbollah could strike, including gas fields and Haifa, the third largest city in Israel. Khalloul noted that it is not only Jews that reside in the city but that Christians live there as well.
"All of us are Israelis living together in the same cities," he said.
As The Times of Israel reported Monday, Israel Defense Forces intercepted a "suspicious target" that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon, which the military suspects may have been a drone. The newspaper reported that IDF forces struck four Hezbollah cells that were allegedly planning to conduct attacks on the border.
The IDF also reported that the Iron Dome defense system struck down a drone that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon through the sea, intercepting it over the Ein Hamifratz kibbutz.
On Monday, the IDF announced that a terror cell in Lebanon was preparing to launch an anti-tank guided missile attack in the Mount Dov area on Israel's northern border, according to The Times.
Amid the clashes at the border, Israel evacuated 28 communities last week that live within 1.2 miles of the Lebanese border. At the same time, Khalloul also evacuated his family for their safety.
In the community where Khalloul resides, he said that some have also opted to evacuate, although he is unsure of the exact number. However, at least 30,000 people evacuated the Jewish towns surrounding the Aramaean Christian community.
The ICAA president explained that he serves as a community representative and speaks with government officials about the needs of Christians in Israel, including guns, so members of the community can protect themselves.
According to Khalloul, the only people allowed to carry guns are those who had previously served in the military and understand how to operate a weapon.
Amid escalating tensions near Israel's border with Lebanon, Khalloul said that his community has been building up squads of residents. These squads work in cooperation with the police and IDF to defend the community, according to Khalloul, and their members aren't limited to a specific number but vary in each town inside of the community.
In addition, the ICAA works with an organization called Christians for Israel to provide an improved quality of life for the military units defending the area. ICAA receives funding from CFI, usually a couple of thousand dollars, to buy food, clothing and water for nearby military units.
"It's enough for building trust between our communities and the IDF surrounding us," Khalloul said. "This is important as well. This building trust and knowledge among them about our existence and our own support for them as well during this hard time."
One of Khalloul's concerns is that Hezbollah will take control of Lebanon, noting that the group's goal likely involves taking over the country and Israel. He worries that if this happens, Lebanon will turn into an Islamic Republic that would prohibit practicing the Christian faith.
"And so, hopefully, we will prevail, and we will win this evil, and we will take them down because we have no other choice," Khalloul said.
"We are defending and fighting for life, for the life of people, for people to live freely and worship freely and believe in what they are as human beings," he continued. "That's the war today."