Israel Shaken and Slightly Stirred

A sequence of minor earthquakes have shaken Israel this week. The first was of magnitude 4.1, affecting the Haifa region and northern Israel early in morning of Wednesday 4th July. It was followed by several smaller tremors later in the day.

Satellite view of earthquake epicentre

But now the sequence has extended over 3 days, with further tremors over the last 48 hours prompting increased concerns that a major earthquake will strike the country soon.

As usual there is no clear indication exactly when a major earthquake will occur, but experts are warning that it is not a question of ‘if’ one will come, but ‘when’.

“In our area earthquakes happen. The last major earthquake struck in 1927, and the one before was in 1836, so we understand that every 100 years a serious earthquake strikes.”

This gives rise to concerns that many buildings are not robust enough. Several have already been damaged by this week’s minor earthquakes.

The Bible confirms that Israel has a long history of earthquakes. Sometime around 760 BC an earthquake is recorded in the time of King Uzziah of Judah by the prophet Amos:

‘The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa,
which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah
and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel,
two years before the earthquake.’
(Amos 1:1, ESV)

Portrait image of King Uzziah
A medal portrait of King Uzziah

And the prophet Zechariah later predicted a special earthquake:

‘On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east,
and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley,
so that one half of the Mount shall move northwards, and the other half southwards.’

(Zechariah 14:4, ESV)