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The cold, still, early morning light was suddenly ripped apart as the sky became full of fighter jets. They flew like dense flocks of migratory birds intent on reaching their planned destination. Coming from the north, they headed over Syria towards the Sea of Galilee. News broadcasts reported Russian naval vessels in the Mediterranean Sea en route to Haifa. There were unconfirmed sightings of missile vessels and warships heading toward Israel from Egypt in the south. It was rumoured that Israel would be under attack from countries on the outer perimeter of those surrounding her land.(1) It looked as if these nations wanted to control the middle east and challenge the authority and power of Alexander Judastus, alias Macro.


In a town just outside Tel Aviv, Warwick dialled a secret number. The line to Cyprus was clear.


"Macro," came the curt reply. "Warwick here. Tanks, followed by marching soldiers are moving towards Israel and aircraft equipped with missiles are destroying cities and military installations."
"My agreement with Israel made them part of my domain," said Macro. "Many Jews, recently returned to Israel, hoped they could live in safety. Their land is rich in minerals, so I will defend Israel against all powers. I will return immediately to ensure Israel is not overpowered."


Warwick slammed the phone down as missiles whistled overhead. The earth shook as bombs exploded, flinging people into the air like rag dolls. Houses and high rise buildings exploded, sending shattered glass and bricks in all directions. The debris fell, maiming and killing thousands as they tried to escape the onslaught. Traffic came to a standstill as huge bomb craters made roads impassable. Some cars teetered on the edge of deep black abysses, spewing water and gas from ruptured pipes. Missiles hit major industrial sites igniting gas and fuels, filling the air with clouds of toxic, black, smoke. Schoolchildren were struck down where they played. Tanks rumbled once again through the towns and cities of Israel. Clothing, brass ornaments, minora's and jewellery, were flattened as unstoppable giant metal treads rolled over everything.


Mothers snatched screaming children to their breasts, and fell as bullets hit their mark. Sirens wailed as ambulance and fire trucks searched for ways around the piles of ruin, in the hope of finding some alive. The underground tunnel near the Dome of the Rock Mosque was filling with Arabs, Jews and tourists. They all desperately sought shelter, for the moment ignoring all religious differences. Israeli soldiers attempted to intercept and destroy incoming land, sea, and air missiles. The sky erupted with blazing flashes of golden yellow as stinger missiles hit their targets. Missiles, tanks and foot soldiers moved rapidly through Israel. In spite of this, much of Jerusalem itself, and the Jewish Temple remained standing.

 

Simon and Ari were busy at the plant when the first missile rocketed to earth a few metres from the entrance gate. Radio broadcasts from Jerusalem had ceased abruptly, while frantic newscasters reported fighting in the streets. There was little time to move stock from the plant and ensure the children in the creche were safe. Every available truck and car was quickly loaded to capacity. Simon and Ari waited in the front truck as workers crammed into other vehicles. Simon hoped he could lead them to the safety of caves just a few kilometres north.


"Lets go!" yelled Simon, signalling to others behind. Ari dodged the gaping holes as missiles whizzed past their strange convoy. Helen manoeuvred the bus full of crying children, while Nicholas shouted warnings to help navigate through this war zone.


"We'll reach the caves in just a few minutes," shouted Simon.  "If only we can hold out until then! Is Helen still following us?"  "She's doing find Ari. Watch out," screamed Simon as a bomb exploded in midair, spreading fragments over the road ahead.


"Just as well that one didn't land, or we would have been history. Someone's looking after us," cried Ari.   "Turn left into that next opening, between those two boulders. The caves are behind there," shouted Simon.


The long line of trucks and cars edged their way over the rock strewn narrow track. Ari exhaled loudly, releasing the tension inside him. Simon jumped down and hurried to unload food supplies and lamps grabbed quickly when they fled Granright.
"We'll be much safer here. This dead end track, surrounded by clean dry caves, will be home for the time being. We will need volunteers to return to some of our homes tonight under cover of darkness. In the meantime, organize groups to store food, first aid equipment and lamps in the largest cave. Have others make lists of basic items necessary for our survival."


"How long do you think we will be here?" asked Ari.  "Our future is uncertain," puffed Simon, as he carried a huge bag of flour into the cave.


"What about water and basic hygiene?" worried Ari. "We will need to bring water containers, picks and shovels back tonight. There is a spring nearby. Water from there flows along channels into cisterns cut into the hard exterior of the caves. We will mend some of the broken cisterns."(2)


"Will we have enough food Simon?" "We have plenty of flour, barley, oats, millet and wheat. The women brought tins of soya milk powder for babies and children. Tonight we will round up a few head of sheep and cattle to supply meat and dairy foods. We will use camp fires and ovens to cook simple meals and bake bread. Have the children collect branches and twigs, or anything that will burn."


"Have you a gun Simon?" questioned Ari.  "I never needed one. I don't think I will start now."  "I don't mean for protection. I meant for shooting birds or game," replied Ari.  "I'll ask the men," responded Simon wearily.


These people trusted him, but he was beginning to feel the enormity of this responsibility. He knew that without the cooperation of Ari, and the workers from Granright, they would not survive. After a simple meal of pancakes, washed down with fresh spring water, Simon, Ari and the volunteers headed back to collect bedding and other necessities.


The land around was desolate. Piles of stone and wood, once homes, scarred the ground. Simon and Ari drove to David's house for warm bedding and clothing before continuing to Granright. Simon was devastated when he saw the house had taken a direct hit. It was now reduced to rubble. The sight of this destruction caused him to cry out in anguish. He felt as if a knife had pierced his heart. As he wept, he felt the futility of his earlier plan for Ari and the family. Ari put a comforting hand on the old man's shoulder. Together they sorted through the ruins for any useful items. The plant had also been hit. Strips of tin flapped like streamers in gaping holes where once the roof sat. The conveyor was a mangle of metal pieces. Storage bins lay on their sides with grain spilling everywhere. The main store room, with its heavy reinforced door, was undamaged. It stood like a black fortress, outlined against a grey sky.


"Let's load the dehydrated food bars into containers," encouraged Ari.


He was confident that these and other products would help them survive. The women and children were relieved to see all the men returning safely. It had been a slow but successful trip. With animals securely corralled and children snuggled warmly on beds of hay or blow up mattresses, the adults sat around the dying camp fire embers. They sipped mugs of black tea sweetened with honey.
"I feel a bit like the shepherds of old must have felt, " smiled Ari.
"It's like we have taken a step back in time."

 

Macro arrived in Israel unscathed. As he entered the opening to a maze of underground tunnels, he greeted Warwick and some of their world wide agents. Macro was happy with the present situation. Southern Russia had doublecrossed Egypt and now occupied their land.


"I will defend Israel against all armed forces. They will not threaten my plans or control the mineral and oil resources of this land."
The brain washed agents emerged from the underground tunnel chanting, "Macro, Macro, Macro."


Others took up their cry as they walked the bomb ravaged streets. Macro sneered with pride.

 

The NovelNotes Feature

These are a helpful feature of this novel. Their use is optional. They may be used if you want to understand more of the underlying Biblical aspects of the story, or the historical and factual material. However, you do not have to use these to follow the story line of the novel.

Chapter 18 NovelNotes

1. It has been known for centuries that this war would occur. In 580 B.C. the prophet Ezekiel wrote about it. He said that the countries in southern Russia and Turkey would join forces with some from what used to be called Persia and several northern African countries. See the book of Ezekiel, Chapter 38, verses 1 to 6.

2. Because Israel's rainfall occurs mainly in the northern winter, large water storages have to be maintained. These are called cisterns and are designed to hold large amounts of water. They are more common in central and southern Israel where the climate is much warmer. There is a very large one underneath a garden where the Garden Tomb is located in Jerusalem. Many can also be seen on the slopes of Masada, where around A.D.70 a remnant of Israeli's who fled Jerusalem, held out against the Romans for 3 years. The water supply from cisterns was vital to their survival.

Continue to Chapter 19