Tupelo native gives insight into Middle East

By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – U.S. and Israeli citizen Ron Baker returned to his hometown of Tupelo last Thursday to speak to Tupelo’s Luncheon Civitan Club.
Baker is the executive administrator of the Bat Kol Institute in Jerusalem, an organization focused on helping Christians understand their Jewish roots.
Outside of his religious efforts, Baker works as a psychotherapist, providing therapy to soldiers. Some of his patients are American soldiers, but the majority of them are Israeli soldiers.
To the Civitan Club, Baker gave insight into the mental conditioning of a soldier, the conflict between prayer and patriotism.
“I try to help soldiers keep being soldiers,” he said. “That’s hard, because killing, while totally unnatural, is essential to war. No matter the training, you can’t know if someone can do it until they are faced with a kill-or-be-killed situation.”
Baker also gave details into the current situation of Israel, who is at a cease-fire with Hamas-controlled Gaza.
One of Baker’s two sons lives in Gedera, an Israel city within range of the Hamas short-range rockets.
“Every house in Israel has a bomb shelter. It’s the law,” he said.
He also said half of the Israelis did not want the cease-fire, because the Hamas frequently use such opportunities to smuggle in better weapons. According to Baker, weapons are produced in Iranian plants in Africa’s Sudan. From there they are transported through Egypt, then into Gaza through tunnels.
“[Israel’s] iron dome defense system, which intercepts short-range rockets and artillery, has been about 90 percent successful,” he said. “But when they fire a thousand missiles, that’s still a lot of missiles getting through.”
Though he spent time in Israel by participating in the Yom Kippur War, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were a calling for Baker. He said the war would be arduous, but he has hope.
“I was sitting in front of a television when the second plane hit. I knew a war unlike other wars had begun, and I knew Israel was the best place to do my part,” he said. “I put my faith in the men of good will, who step forth, make good laws, and keep them, because the men of ill will won’t.”
riley.manning@journalinc.com