No, Hamas Has Not Admitted that the God of the Jews is Diverting their Rockets

Story from jumps from Israeli Haredi columnist to UK Jewish newspaper to US evangelical websites

Jewish Telegraph Hamas Rockets

From the UK Jewish Telegraph:

IN October, 1956, David Ben Gurion was interviewed by CBS. He stated: “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.”

But the Talmud Yerushalmi tells us that in no way are we to depend on miracles.

It argues that we must not desist from our obligations and must not wait for miraculous intervention from the Supernatural.

How perfectly relevant are both of these views today. We witness hourly miracles.

As one of the terrorists from Gaza was reported to say when asked why they couldn’t aim their rockets more effectively: “We do aim them, but their God changes their path in mid-air.”

Amen! And when our God is not busy doing that, He is ensuring that the high-tech brain power of our “start-up nation” is working overtime to produce yet another Iron Dome battery to help protect our cities and us.

The rest of the article is a vignette about life in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim in the context of air-raid warnings, but it’s the supposed quote from “one of the terrorists from Gaza” that has caught the imagination. The on-line version of the article is headed thus:

‘God Changes the Path of our Rockets’

However, as shown above, a photograph of the print version that is doing the rounds shows a slightly different headline, which dispenses with the quote-marks:

Their God changes the path of our rockets in mid-air, said a terrorist

A banner above this adds:

Expat tells of hourly miracles that are keeping Israel safe

The author is a certain Barbara Ordman, originally from Manchester. She does not appear to be a journalist, and the source for her supposed – and inherently unlikely – quote from Gaza is not given.

It seems that the actual source (H/T Failed Messiah) is an opinion piece by a certain Chaim Cohen, writing last week on a Haredi news-site called Kikar HaShabbat. His column is in Hebrew, but Google Translate shows that the headline was something like “It’s not the Iron Dome, it’s God”. According to the author (via Google Translate, tidied up):

In a surprising interview with a Hamas representative on the global network CNN, the obvious question was asked: “After all, you claim that you have the best and most accurate missiles, so how can you then can not hurt almost anywhere in Israel?” The Hamas representative quickly replied: “Our missiles are accurate and good, but the Name [i.e. God] of the Jews diverts eighty percent of the rockets we launch into uninhabited areas, and the remaining twenty percent are intercepted by the Iron Dome”.

Alas, comments by readers after the piece point out that no such CNN interview exists.

It seems that Cohen in turn is relying on a rumour that appeared during the conflict in late 2012; several comments appeared on YNet on 19 November of that year saying the same thing (see here, here, and here; and H/T to a reader), and claiming that the interview had taken place the day before. From there it made its way onto a Facebook page relating to southern Israel. The claim was also cited on TV by Rabbi Zamir Cohen although I’m not sure when.

Ordman’s version of the same story, stripped of the bogus reference to CNN, is now going viral through conservative and Evangelical websites in the USA. Inevitably, WND is on the bandwagon (“Terrorist said to marvel at Israel’s supernatural protection”), and refers in turn to Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural. Roth writes:

According to an article in the Jewish Telegraph, a terrorist in Gaza was asked why they couldn’t aim their rockets more effectively. In response he said, “We do aim them, but their God changes their path in mid-air.”

I believe thousands of Muslims will turn to Jesus in the Middle East soon when they see their god does not answer prayer!

Probably not quite what Chaim Cohen had in mind.