Operation Ittai: Defending Israel (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Well, hello, everyone. I'm James Dobson and you're listening to Family Talk, a listener-supported ministry. In fact, thank you so much for being part of that support for James Dobson Family Institute.

Roger Marsh: Welcome to Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh.

You know, the events that unfolded in Israel on October 7th have shaken us all, and now we are watching Israel fight against attacks that would seek her destruction. On today's edition of the program, we're going to talk about how we can fight to defend Israel and leading the conversation is our co-host Michele Bachmann.

Michele sits on the board here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute and serves as the co-chair of the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast. She certainly has a heart for Israel, as do her guests on today's edition of Family Talk.

Tommy and Sherri Waller and their son Joshua Waller are with us. They are one courageous family that have moved to Israel in obedience to the Lord, to establish vineyards that have been declared in the Bible and now are helping to protect Israel and its beloved people during the current conflict.

Tommy Waller is president and founder of HaYovel, which in Hebrew means The Jubilee. His ministry trains volunteers to advocate for Israel, and right now they are calling on men to come to Israel and protect and defend about 200 farms and Jewish communities located in Judea and Samaria. The program is called Operation Ittai.

Tommy's wife, Sherri Waller, is a dynamic woman of faith, who has a background in geology and seven years in the business world. Sherri has faithfully followed her husband, Tommy, along this journey, fully pouring into her family and the lives of her children and grandchildren.

We will also be joined by Tommy and Sherri's son, Joshua Waller. Currently, Joshua is the director of operations for HaYovel, which hosts thousands of volunteers from around the world.

So let's join our co-host, Michele Bachmann, and special guests, Tommy and Sherri Waller, and their son, Joshua Waller, right now on Family Talk.

Michele Bachmann: My name is Michele Bachmann. I'm thrilled that you are here today. You know, many people have been watching what's happening in Israel. We want to know what this is about, the conflict.

And to tell us more about what's happening, I've asked to join me today, Tommy and Sherri Waller, and their son, Joshua Waller. They're coming to us now from Samaria in Israel, what's known as the West Bank region when you hear about it on the news.

But Tommy, I met you in my office when I served in the United States Congress. And you came in because you felt it was important for me and believers to know about the work that you and Sherri were doing. What happened in the midst of that, Tommy?

Tommy Waller: I got an invitation to go to Israel from some business guys, guys that were doing business over there. I had a foundation in the Word, a foundation in the Scriptures, to go there was a great invitation.

Michele Bachmann: What year was this, Tommy?

Tommy Waller: This was 2004.

Michele Bachmann: 2004, okay. So you went over, Sherri was home with the children.

Tommy Waller: Right.

Sherri Waller: Yep.

Tommy Waller: And I went there. I met a vineyard owner on Mount Gerizim.

Michele Bachmann: And that's the Mount of Blessing.

Tommy Waller: That's the Mount of Blessing.

Michele Bachmann: That's right. When Joshua brought all of the nation of Israel to the Mount of Blessing and the Mount of Cursing.

Tommy Waller: Right, exactly. We misunderstand that sometime, but that's a covenant.

The Jews refer to it as a wedding. They married the land right there in that place. You can see the battle, the spiritual battle, was going on over there in the physical now. But as we hear the conflict, the Middle East conflict, it's right back into that same area, that same place that God spoke covenants over Israel.

Michele Bachmann: So then in 2004, you were there on business in Israel. You were invited and you went to the vineyards, you said, and those vineyards were at Mount Gerizim?

Tommy Waller: Right. The vineyard owner, I had never, actually being in Tennessee, had never met an Orthodox Jew. I know that's hard to believe. And this religious Jew, religious Zionist Jew, let me clarify, he read to me Jeremiah 31:5. Jeremiah is saying that one day there's going to be vineyards planted on the mountains of Samaria, and it's going to happen in the time, because we're reading Jeremiah 31, in this great restoration of the land, this redemption of the land of Israel.

When he read that to me, it was the first time in my life that I was actually touching prophecy and I couldn't deny it. It was there. It was hitting me in the face, a Jew who had come from the four corners of the earth and came back to resettle the land, the vineyards were being planted. These were things that gave me a whole new perspective of my own faith and a real zeal and excitement about what I believe.

Michele Bachmann: You knew the prophecy that God was going to bring the Jews back.

Tommy Waller: Right.

Sherri Waller: Well, you got to know we're living in an Amish community. We're selling produce to make a living at the time, so we're making about what it costs to fly our whole family over to Israel. Our annual income was one trip to Israel. So God did miraculous things to get us there, and we just began the work.

Tommy Waller: You know, in the beginning, it was just helping farmers plant vineyards, harvest vineyards, take care of their vines. Isaiah 61:5 says that "The foreigners will come and be your vine dressers." We read it together with the Rabbi of Habracha. He wept. He said, "It's happening. The nations are coming to help us." We probably today bring anywhere from 4 to 500 volunteers a year into Israel.

Michele Bachmann: And so believers get excited. They come over, they're helping with the grape harvest. And how long does this go on for, Tommy?

Tommy Waller: It could happen two weeks, six weeks. Some people come over for three months sometimes. It just depends on the program that we have going. And we send people back to talk about Israel, talk about what's really happening right now.

We're in a place where God is really showing Himself right now, and I think that that's one of the things that what we're seeing right now is the opportunity for the Christian world to stand when God says very clearly to stand with Israel.

Michele Bachmann: And you've been there for how many years?

Sherri Waller: It's 20 years, we're going into 20. It's important for the listeners to know there were no vineyards, none on the mountains of Samaria, none until just as a prophetic window thrown open that God is showing us He's doing something very special right now. It hasn't happened in 2,000 years.

Michele Bachmann: I know we have your son, Joshua, on the call today, too, and I wanted to talk just about the threats because we've seen and heard a lot about the threats that Israel has faced since October 6th.

But first, I wanted to establish, you know, Tommy, you had said something to me. You said that yours is the only Christian ministry in Judea and Samaria. Tommy, is that true? And why is that?

Tommy Waller: Yeah. There are some Christian organizations that will visit Judea and Samaria. Our full focus is supporting Judea and Samaria. That's where the conflict is.

You know, Yeshua says, Jesus says to us that He came to serve and not to be served. The relationship now is building to a place when the war broke out that the things changed, and when we hear conflict, a lot of times, especially Western Christianity, we avoid conflict, but God really calls us to be ministers of reconciliation.

Michele Bachmann: And you have chosen to go in there, not only just to help grow agriculture products, the grapes, but you've been growing relationships with the Jewish people that live in that area and fostering that relationship and bringing love, love into that area. You've got a lot of children, the 11 children, and we have Joshua Waller on the phone with us right now, too.

Joshua Waller: Hey, glad to be here.

Michele Bachmann: Hi, Josh. Well, we are so happy that you're here. And you're married and you have children living in Samaria up at the top of Mount Gerizim. Is that right?

Joshua Waller: That's correct.

Michele Bachmann: And you have something interesting together with your brother, I understand. You do a show called The Israel Guys. Tell us a little bit about that.

Joshua Waller: Sure. So I'm the director of operations... Yeah, I came here when I was 14 years old with Dad, have been a part of it ever since. I'm the director of operations for our volunteer work here.

But after about 14 years or so of being here, I'd started seeing the just complete injustice to the Jewish people done on the international media. It's a horrific scene. The demonization of the Jews is an ancient practice that, unfortunately, is still happening today.

So being boots on the ground here for so long, I said we have to begin to speak. The Jewish people need people to speak up for them. It's hard when you're trying to defend yourself, but we had a position here as foreigners to our people, to Americans, to Westerners.

And so we opened up a channel called The Israel Guys just for that purpose of bringing truth. You know, there's so many lies that are out there, and so we just started speaking the truth to people, and thank God today we're reaching millions of people with truth. You know, on a yearly basis our message is going out to millions. Literally, it's a huge platform today, one of the largest English-speaking platforms coming out of Israel today with the message of truth of what's actually happening here.

Michele Bachmann: Well, and that's something that we don't get a message about what's happening in Judea-Samaria. Again, it's called the West Bank. We're told this is disputed territory. That would be like saying that the United States of America is disputed territory because we had an argument with the Brits back in 1776, and it's still disputed. It's not disputed. We're America, and it's the same with Israel.

Let's just talk a little bit about Judea-Samaria, and that is a population of about 2 to 3 million Arabs living in that area, and how many Jews and how many towns live in that area?

Joshua Waller: So the Judea and Samaria area, as you mentioned, the West, unfortunately, the misinformed call it the West Bank, is an area, like you said, 2 to 3 million Arabs. And it's crazy that nobody can get a better count than that, but it's very Third World, and so it's an impossible count on their side. But there's a very factual number of Jewish people that live here. It's 500,000, just over 500,000 Jewish people live in 200 communities sprinkled throughout this Judea and Samaria area.

And, of course, all of this happened after 1967 when the Jewish people came back into this area of Israel and really a fulfillment of the prophetic Word of God that you will come back into the land and settle and take possession of it. These families came in, very religious families and motivated by the Bible, a lot of people don't know that. Today it's a massive miracle. Since 1967, 500,000 Jewish people have moved into these areas under the biblical mandate to settle and take possession of their ancient homeland so it's a massive miracle.

Just to note, these are families. We're talking about families that have returned to their homeland. 25% of this 500,000 are under the age of 14 years old. This represents massive families moving into these 200 communities.

Michele Bachmann: Then also in Judea, around the Jerusalem area, there's about, is it 300,000?

Joshua Waller: Yes. So in the Jerusalem block, there's another 300,000, yeah. So 800,000 total if you want to talk about the West Bank because they also talk about Jerusalem in that figure.

Michele Bachmann: You're the only organization that has a base of operations that brings Christians in to Judea-Samaria.

Joshua Waller: That's correct.

Michele Bachmann: Tell us a little bit about the security there, and also tell us about the threats.

Joshua Waller: Sure. Well, everything changed October 7th, and I'm sure a lot of people listening right now understand that, when war broke out here, when the unbelievable massacre happened down south in Gaza.

Michele Bachmann: Just so that our listeners know, Gaza is on the western side of Israel, it's on the Mediterranean Sea, and the eastern side is Judea-Samaria. But we're talking about a very, very tiny little area of land. So you're on the east side of Israel touching Jordan.

Joshua Waller: That's correct. So Gaza's down south. Literally, when rockets are flying out of Gaza up on this mountain perspective, like you said, it's very small country, I can see those rockets and thank God most of those rockets are being taken down by the Iron Dome. Thanks to that technology, Israel's not suffering even more than it currently is. So we had the brutal attacks from Gaza down south of Israel, massive loss, 1700 Jewish people.

But what a lot of people don't know, Michele, is that a multi-war front is happening and there's a front that's not fully being recognized by the international world, and that is Judea and Samaria. We have the full-fledged front of Gaza, the full-fledged front of Lebanon, the full front of Syria that's in the north yet, and the Judea and Samaria is really a fourth front on that multi-war front that's not getting as much attention globally as it should be.

Michele Bachmann: You had told me before about some of the threats that you've faced there. Tell us a little bit about incidents that just happened just recently.

Joshua Waller: Sure. So I mean, we've got the same kind of ideology as persists out in Gaza as around here. Unfortunately, the world thinks that Hamas is like a little piece of the Middle East. Now that represents the majority mindset. So when we talk about 500,000 Jews living in the small communities of Judea and Samaria surrounded by 2 to 3 million Arabs, these 2 to 3 million Arabs are hostile. No question about it. Being here for 20 years, I have friends that have been killed in terrorist attacks just this February.

This is the threat of radical jihad that is a threat to these 200 communities, these 500,000 Jews living here. This is a real threat. There's no fences between these communities and the Jewish communities and the Arab communities. It's open lands. The only thing that separates us is the mountain. I'm on top of the mountain. They're at the bottom of the mountain. I have about 500 families here next to me. This is the community I live in. There's 250,000 hostile Arabs around us. That's the reality.

Michele Bachmann: So the security threat is very real. One thing that you had mentioned to me and that your dad, Tommy Waller, mentioned to me is that there are 350,000 men, Jewish men who were called up across Israel, and they've been called to go fight now.

And so with that many men called out, you had mentioned to me that's two-thirds of the men are leaving these communities, so the Jewish men that are leaving to be fighters, leaving primarily older men or very young men to guard the women and the children that are left behind in these Jewish communities, I mean, this is a real threat, isn't it, Joshua?

Joshua Waller: There's a massive threat here, and it needs support. There's massive needs, and the guys that are left don't have the basic supplies that they need to be able to defend themselves. There's no night vision. I mean, very few. I say no, I mean, mostly the communities we're talking about and helping are the same communities that we've helped for 20 years, and we're here to provide this essential help that they need in bringing in the night vision, the goggles, the protective vest, the helmets, even flashlights. I'm telling you, there's community down here that only has two flashlights for the whole community. I mean, there's really basic supplies that they've asked us to be a part of bringing in.

And that's when we opened up Operation Ittai, I-T-T-A-I, Ittai. This is David's mighty man that wasn't a Jew that joined Israel. I mean, that's what I feel like right now, a real call for people and the nations to become Ittais, to say to David, "We're with you. We stand with you."

Michele Bachmann: And your dad sent me that scripture, 2 Samuel 15:19. "Then King David said to Ittai," who was from the Gaza area, he wanted to come and help King David, who was being under attack from Absalom, and the king said, "Why should you also come with us? Why should you come with us, Ittai? This is a dangerous mission," is what he was saying to him. "Go back and stay for you're a foreigner. Should I make you wander around with us today to go wherever I might go? Go back, take your kinsman with you. Kindness and truth be with you."

But then Ittai answered the king and said, "as Adonai lives and as my Lord, the king lives, surely in whatever place, my Lord the king will be, whether for death or for life, there also will your servant be."

Joshua, that's the Waller family story. You've gone to one of the most hostile places that there could be. The Palestinian Authority even has written in their governing documents that they support the killing of Jews. That is their mission statement. The same with Hamas. That's Article Seven for them that they call for the extermination of Jews. That's your neighborhood.

Joshua Waller: That's exactly right.

Michele Bachmann: You're a believer. So talk to us a little bit more about what you're doing with Operation Ittai.

Joshua Waller: Yes, this is our response. You know, everybody's talking about a proportionate response. I would love to see a proportionate Christian response to the murder of Jews. You know, this has been the age-old battle. The Jewish people have been slaughtered for centuries now.

It actually might cost us something to stand with Israel, standing with Israel in America right now. You see what's happening on college campuses and even in local communities for those that support Israel, it's actually costing us something to be pro-Israel today when we never thought it. But today we're seeing a new reality on the ground and these kind of people like Ittai, Ruth, these kind of people who said to Israel, "We're with you. We stand with you," and that's what Operation Ittai is all about, is raising up an opportunity for Christians across the globe to stand with Israel.

We went and asked the different local leaders for what their needs were and those six regions that we represent here, the 200 communities, came back and said, "We need X amount of equipment." The amount was $29 million worth of supplies.

Michele Bachmann: I think people in the United States would think, "Well, why can't the Israeli government supply basic supplies for the Jewish people?" But the fact is what, Josh?

Joshua Waller: The fact is, is that they're caught off-guard, just like they were in 1973 with Yom Kippur War, and they need help and the help can be given to them, thank God, by people like me and you, individuals. It's a really unfortunate thing, but every nation on the globe stands against Israel. They may be saying one thing or another in the frontline, but in the back there's not Israel support.

Michele Bachmann: Genesis 12:3 says, "Those who bless Israel will be blessed. Those who curse Israel will be cursed," so whether it's individuals or whether it's nations, because Joel 3 is extremely clear. At one time, all nations will be drawn to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and there is only one criterion by which the nations will be judged and it will be on how they treated Zion, Israel, the Jewish people. And so right now is that moment, isn't it, Josh?

Joshua Waller: It's a moment, and we have a choice to make. Will we stand with Israel? Are we going to sit back and watch? And I believe God's calling us as believers to stand with Israel and for us to stand up, to have the courage to stand up right now and to give Israel whatever we have to give.

There's so many people listening right now that may have friends that can give toward the Operation Ittai. That's amazing. Do that. Maybe you have a son or a daughter at a college campus that wants to do some pro-Israel thing. Or maybe you have contact to a leader that can do something public, that you can give Israel a hug in so many ways right now, and I'm telling you, it will go a long way. Whatever you do will go a long way right now.

Michele Bachmann: That's right. And you do a show called theisraelguys.com. Also, the work that you have been doing for 20 years on the mountain is serveisrael.com and Operation Ittai is trying to help with the current situation since October 7th, because this could be, as you said, a fourth front of the war could break out at any moment.

Joshua Waller: Yeah. You know, people weren't even paying attention. As long as it was just one and two Jews being killed through terrorism here and there, nobody was paying attention to it. It took the 1700 being slaughtered to wake people up to the evil of Hamas and the 22 other organizations now, hostile terrorist organizations around.

These terrorist organizations, they've been here with the same rhetoric, and it's time for Christians to stand up to it. Unfortunately, we didn't do it big enough to the Nazis, but we need that kind of proportionate response to this massive attack against Jewish people. We can stop it. That's the thing that everybody should understand.

Michele Bachmann: Amen. What's your heart right now, Tommy?

Tommy Waller: We need to put feet to our faith. Isaiah 52:7 says, "How beautiful are the feet of those who come to the mountains of Israel, the mountains of Zion, and say to Israel, your God reigns." Where are the beautiful feet? Where are those that are going to have faith? Please God, let there be pastors. Let there be leaders that rise up and get behind their pulpit saying, "You know what? Our church is going to stand with the Word of God."

Michele Bachmann: Amen. Joshua, you put it so well. Where were all the Christians in the '30s and the '40s when the threats were coming against the Jewish people in Europe?

You know, Tommy, Sherri, Joshua, I am so profoundly moved. I would imagine our listeners are profoundly moved and want to know how they can either come to the mountain and help you, or donate money and help our Jewish brothers and sisters in Judea-Samaria.

Joshua, could you let our listeners know how they could help in this effort?

Joshua Waller: Thank you, Michele, and this is a wonderful opportunity to come and serve Israel in this situation, that we need all hands on deck.

Serveisrael.com. If people want to bring their feet and their hands to serve here, those programs are all there at that website, serveisrael.com.

Operation Ittai. Those that want to be involved in getting the funding to these projects. It's so crucial. A hundred percent of this funding goes straight to the operation, getting the equipment here on the ground. That's Operation Ittai, Operation I-T-T-A-I.com.

Guys, we encourage all of you, guys, participate in one of these ways to bless and serve the people of Israel at this time.

Michele Bachmann: Again, that's Operation Ittai. Could you spell it one more time?

Joshua Waller: Sure. Operation Ittai, Operation I-T-T-A-I.com.

Michele Bachmann: Thanks so much, Josh. Appreciate it.

Tommy, would you be willing to just pray right now-

Tommy Waller: Yes.

Michele Bachmann: ... for the Jewish people who are there at risk?

Tommy Waller: Father, you say to us in Isaiah 40, the first thing you say is, "Comfort your people." Father, forgive us for not being a comfort to the people that we were supposed to be a comfort to, and right now, Father, as the nation of Israel is suffering, we know that there's spiritual darkness that is standing against the place that we should have been standing for the last 2,000 years.

So Father, we ask it in the name of Jesus, in the name of Yeshua that, Father, that we would become the ones that would represent our Messiah, love the Jewish people as He loved the Jewish people, as He loved the land of Israel, and I pray it in your holy name, Yeshua, Jesus, our messiah, amen.

Michele Bachmann: Amen. Sherri, Tommy Waller, thank you for sharing your life's experience with us. Joshua Waller, thank you for Israel Guys and for sharing what the reality is right now. We appreciate all of that. You've motivated us today to serve.

Joshua Waller: Thanks so much for having us on. It's been a pleasure.

Tommy Waller: Thank you.

Roger Marsh: Israel certainly needs our support in any way we can give. And to learn more about the Wallers and how to support their efforts in Israel, you can visit our website at drjamesdobson.org/familytalk.

Now, if today's program has tugged on your heart for Israel and you'd like to make a donation directly to the Waller's ministry and Operation Ittai, you can visit their website, serveisrael.com. You can click at the very top of the page to be connected with Operation Ittai or explore other ways to help those in need. And remember, please keep Israel in your prayers. Again, that web address is serveisrael.com.

I'm Roger Marsh, and from all of us here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, thank you for making us a part of your day. May God continue to richly bless you and your family as you grow deeper in relationship with him.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.

Group Created with Sketch.