Rabbi Pinchas Winston warns that the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine could be the start of a biblical war.
Following a botched Israeli special forces raid miles inside Gaza on Sunday evening, Hamas launched 400 rockets and mortars from Gaza, possibly the largest bombardment ever in that time period.
Israel responded by carrying out more than 100 bombings, including the targeting of a Hamas-run television building.
According to the Times of Israel, large numbers of IDF troops and tanks are now heading to the border with Gaza.
Rabbi Pinchas Winston believes that the latest escalation, which some are calling the most intense to date, could spark the War of Gog and Magog, an “end of days” conflict which precipitates the Messianic Redemption.
“The First World War was set off by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. The 2014 War in Gaza was set off by the murder of three young boys. The same is true for the War of Gog and Magog but even more so,” said Winston, adding that the battle “could be more horrifying than anything we could ever imagine” and “unlike anything that came before”.
Winston cited a description of the war by Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, who in the 18th century said that it will last 12 minutes and encompass the world.
“That was inconceivable at the time but now we can envision that as being realistic,” Rabbi Winston said. “There are many aspects described in prophecy that skeptics say are impossible. It is all part of the bigger plan.”
The station was targeted as part of a series of airstrikes on Gaza by Israel on Monday. Those strikes were in response to a barrage of rockets launched from Gaza, and follow several days of tense cross-border flare-ups.
Al-Aqsa is the official Hamas-run television channel. Its programming includes news promoting Hamas, as well as children’s programming and religiously inspired entertainment.
The bombing happened after the Israeli military launched at least five non-exploding missiles nearby, warning Palestinians to evacuate, according to sources cited by Reuters.
More than 300 rockets were fired towards Israel by Gaza on Monday, 60 of which were intercepted, according to the IDF. A bus which had been used to carry Israeli soldiers was struck by an anti-tank missile from Gaza, critically injuring one.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) says it responded by striking over 70 targets in the Gaza Strip. At least two Palestinian civilians were killed, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. One person was injured.
The Monday tensions come after days of flare-ups between the two sides. On Sunday, an Israeli special forces raid in the Gaza Strip saw at least two Hamas commanders and four other Palestinians killed. One Israeli soldier was also killed and another wounded.