BLOG / Calling it as I see it
The year 2017 will see commemorations of a cluster of anniversaries tied in one way or the other to the restoration of the land of Israel to the Jewish people in preparation for the coming of the Lord:
These will include:
The 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation (October 31, 1517) that made the Bible accessible to ordinary Christians so they could read for themselves all about God’s promises foretelling His determined purpose to one day restore the Jewish people to their land. The Reformation began just one year after the Ottoman Turks conquered and brought the Land of Israel into their empire.
The 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba (October 31, 1917) that led to the liberation of the land of Israel from the Turks after a continuous 626 years of Islamic rule.
The 100th anniversary of the drafting of the Balfour Declaration (October 31, 1917) supporting the resurrection of the Jewish national home in the Land of Israel. British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour’s letter containing the text of the declaration was delivered to Lord Rothschild on November 2.
The 70th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly Partition Resolution (November 29, 1947) that paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel.
The 50th anniversary – Jubilee – of the start of the Six Day War (June 5, 1967) which saw the Jews thwart the Islamic effort to re-conquer the liberated land and drive the Arab occupiers out of the biblical heartland of Samaria and Judea and off the Golan Heights.
The 50th anniversary – Jubilee – of the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem (June 7, 1967) marking the first time in over 2000 years that Jews were sovereign in their own capital.
Also in 2017 the battle for the future of this land looks set to heat up:
In the words last week of US Vice President Joe Biden, there is increasing dissatisfaction with Israel and a growing determination on the part of the international community to impose upon Israel the creation of an Islamic ‘State of Palestine’ on the biblical lands restored to the Jews in 1967.
“[N]ot withstanding our sometimes overwhelming frustration with the Israeli government – we have an obligation to push them as hard as we can toward what they know in their gut is the only solution – a two-state solution,” Biden said, seemingly insensible to the arrogant and demeaning tenor of his words.
“The present course Israel’s on is not one that’s likely to secure its existence as a Jewish, democratic state, and we have to make sure that happens,” he continued.
The Europeans are on the same page, according to a statement released April 21 by French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announcing plans to host a meeting of ministers from 20 countries to try and relaunch the Israel-Palestinian “peace process.”
The aim of the meeting – set for May 30 – is to prepare an international summit in the second half of 2016, which would include Israeli and Palestinian Arab leaders.
Israel is not to be invited to the May 30 meeting, notwithstanding the fact that it is the Jews’ ancestral homeland that is on the chopping block.*
Positively, plans are underway to convene in The Hague, in June 2017, a congress of experts in international law who will make the legal case for Israel’s right to extend sovereignty over those same biblical lands. Laws passed by the League of Nations and secured as unalterable in the Founding Charter of the United Nations grant this right – which the international community has chosen to disregard.
Ed Note: In a couple of days I will be taking a ‘word from Zion’ to Bible believers on both the east and west coasts of the United States. Then, in the summer (though it will be winter there), with my thoughts on the 2017 Beersheba Battle Centenary that is looming and will not come by again, I am scheduled to make my third speaking trip to Australia and New Zealand, where I will be speaking to both Christian and Jewish audiences. On my return from America I will take a closer look at this upcoming succession of extraordinary events. Watch this space.
* The French have a history of leaving concerned parties outside the room while planning to steal their lands – consider how Czechoslovakia was treated by France and England when those countries’ leaders met with Germany’s Hitler to decide the fate of the Czech’s Sudetenland.
April 20, 2016: The heights of insolence
The Obama administration has the effrontery to reject Israel’s ownership of the Golan Heights.
That upstart nation with less than a quarter of one millennium of history presumes to rule on whether or not land that verifiably belonged to Jews for centuries thousands of years ago is rightfully theirs today!
May the LORD God of Israel humble America – a mighty country that has tragically forgotten the Judeo-Christian rock from which it was hewn, the roots out of which it grew.
Israel’s weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday April 17 was held – historically – on the Golan Heights. It was, of course, not the first Jewish gathering on the high ground that IDF forces brought back into Jewish hands – as ordained and foretold by God – in the Six Day War.
The Golan Heights is saturated with Israel’s history – as recorded in the Bible and since.
For hundreds of years it formed half of the inheritance of the Israelite tribe of Manasseh.
It was included in the kingdoms of the great Jewish kings, David and Solomon
Two thousand years ago it was an integral part of the Galilee – which was a region in the Roman-occupied Land of Israel called Judea.
Jesus travelled near and likely even on the Golan, as the New Testament tells us of His presence in the region of Caesarea Philippi in the northern foothills of the plateau.
The large and formidably fortified Jewish town of Gamla – known as the Masada of the North – sits on the southern Golan. Its conquest by Titus and his legions in AD 67 is both recorded by Josephus Flavius – formerly the Jewish commander of the Galilee during the Great Revolt and the man responsible for directing the construction of the town’s defences – and thoroughly verified in the excavation of the site by Israel that began in 1967.
At least 20 Jewish villages and synagogues from the Talmudic and Mishnaic periods bear witness to the existence of vibrant Jewish life across the region up to 500 years after Christ.
Along with the Land of Israel, the Golan Heights was conquered and occupied by various Arab and other Muslim groups down the centuries. For 400 years it was part of the Ottoman Empire’s province of Palestine until it was liberated by the Judeo-Christian forces led by the British Empire in World War 1.
The Golan Heights was included in the area designated in the Balfour Declaration as intended for Jewish close settlement in readiness for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people.
It was only after Great Britain and France later modified the borders in designing the modern Middle East that the Golan was included in what would become a modern Arab country called Syria – one of many brand new Arab states that, unlike Israel, had never existed before in history as national Arab lands.
(Most of the Arab states are newcomers created post-World War 1. The Jewish state, on the other hand, has four millennia of history dating back to its founding fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Israel.)
Syria became an independent country in 1945, just two-and-a-half years before Israel was reborn.
From 1948 until mid-1967, Syria utilised the Golan Heights exclusively as a platform from which to fire on Jewish communities in the Huleh Valley below. A generation of Jewish children grew up with bomb shelters their bedrooms as often as not.
In June 1967, Israel drove the aggressors off the Golan in a self-defensive war, finally returning the plateau to Jewish control. Arab Syria had had possession of the Heights for a mere 22 years. They have been under modern Israel for more than twice that length of time, on top of the centuries when they were part of ancient Israel as outlined above.
In 1982, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law, which applied Israeli “laws, jurisdiction and administration” to the Heights, effectively extending sovereignty over the Golan.
This act, whether State Department official John Kirby – who on April 18, 2016 declared that “those territories are not part of Israel” – and his bosses are able to swallow it or not, simply brought the Heights back under the ownership of the aboriginal people of the land.
Who, then, do the President of the United States, and those Americans who support him, think that they are?
Of course, such statements and sentiments coming out of the White House and State Department simply accentuate the by-now universally obvious hostility towards Israel of the Obama administration, and put it and America on the wrong side of Israel’s God.
March 30, 2016: Israel – you owe the world nothing
‘You have no need to prove your morality to an immoral world that has already condemned you.’
‘and therefore no reason to air your laundry in public; without apology, fuss, or media pandering, close ranks and deal privately with these matters’
“We all support the soldier. But there’s a world outside, an international attack.” Israeli Minister of Internal Affairs Aryeh Deri
What I write here takes no position on the actions of the Israeli soldier who killed a wounded Arab terrorist in Hebron last Thursday – whether he acted courageously to possibly save lives or committed a prosecutable act.
That is an internal Israeli issue that is none of my business nor is it the business of anyone else. Israel is a democracy governed by laws, and the Israel Defense Forces likewise are under the law, encoded both in an internal military judicial system and the one of the State.
Certainly the actions of Israeli individuals have nothing whatsoever to do with US President Barak Obama or EU foreign policy czar Frederica Mogherini or any other world leader or politician. When it comes to its soldiers, no one can hold a candle to Israel, which has been way, way ahead of the rest of the world – not least the United States – in scrutinizing her own and being very hard on them for any mistakes made, even if they are perceived and not actual.
As for the United Nations – the anti-Semitic record that fuels everything it has to say about Israel is unbroken.
What has me going is the infuriating Israeli kneejerk reaction, which sees its leaders so sensitive to external criticism that once again we witnessed them falling over themselves to immediately condemn the action before the legal systems even had a chance to investigate.
I’m pleased to see that PM Netanyahu has since softened his stance and spoken of the intense pressures that IDF soldiers operate under every day ; also, that so far, it appears public apologies have not been made to outside figures, although who’s to know what has been said in private phone conversations.
Unfortunately though, because ranks were not closed from the get-go, and the matter was widely circulated by a news media that scrutinizes Israel’s every action with intent to indict, Israel’s leaders are being forced to deal with the inevitable fallout.
The incident has become heatedly politicized, domestically, which muddies the military investigation.
Moreover, the military trial has been compromised by the media one which was set in motion the moment opportunistic video footage – reportedly taken by a Palestinian Arab activist for the stridently left wing, anti-Israel, domestic ‘human rights organization’ B’Tselem – was publicly released.
This EU-funded group has been established to monitor and report on Israel’s human rights record in regard to its treatment of Palestinian Arabs in the so-called ‘West Bank’. It does not monitor the human rights record of Arabs with regard to their behavior towards Jews who live in that region.
Consider the following article which supports the existence of such an organization:
The author, along with the bleeding heart, left wing, ‘human rights’ advocates who condemn Israel for exercising what they see as a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards Palestinian Arab terrorists, needs a few truths told:
It is war. Israel is defending herself and protecting her citizens in a state of war. She is not up against a disorganised, grassroots resistance movement born of poverty, frustration and disenfranchised youth arming themselves with rocks and knives from the kitchen drawer in a desperate and ungainly effort to fight against the Jewish oppressor for their people’s right to the return of their indigenous homeland. That viewpoint is as fictitious as the ‘even-handedness’ of the UN, and as twisted as the international community’s concept of truth and justice.
Israel is having to deal with a hostile alien entity raised from birth on a systematic and soaking diet of anti-Semitic hatred, deliberately maintained in a climate of homelessness by its own Arab brethren, and indoctrinated into an ideology devoid of logic, sensibility and care for humanity, driven rather by lofty ideas of global domination and a specific aim to successfully rid the earth of every Jew. The ‘leaders’ of this enemy entity are not interested in statehood for any reason other than to wipe the Jews, preferably dead, from the land by any and all means possible. And they are fully prepared to sacrifice their brainwashed youth on the altar of their intent, inciting them to commit unending acts of murder towards this end.
Were Israel to rethink the ethical approach with which she fights wars, and actually exercise the policy of zero tolerance she is being accused of, her behavior would look very different from the way she is managing the latest round of violence.
(The Arab death toll would be much higher, the Jewish one lower; Arab families would be summarily expelled with their stone-throwing, knife-stabbing teenagers; Gaza would be retaken and Abbas and his PLO gang and Hamas would be outlawed and expunged from the entire land; Israel would declare sovereignty over all her ancestral land and build everywhere, encouraging Jews to immigrate and permanently settle the area …)
The point to be made is this: the piece of B’Tselem video footage showing the shooting of the terrorist – along with the commentary that roundly condemned before the facts were even known, filmed and released as it was by a group with a highly specific, pro-‘Palestinian’ agenda that is extremely hostile to Israel –
should have been promptly slammed by the Israeli leadership and no further comment made except to say that due legal process was underway, and that no further statements would be made until the internal investigations were completed without outside bias or interference.
Instead, the immediate responses of Israel’s PM, Defense Minister (who took it upon himself to personally convict and condemn the soldier with his statement that “this is a case of a soldier gone bad”) and IDF spokesman were to hastily declare and avow to the world Israel’s morality.
My mother used to tell me that the more quickly and loudly people protest their innocence, the guiltier they tend to be deemed.
So I want to sit down, look Israel’s leaders quietly in the eye and say very directly and deliberately and unequivocally:
Israel – you have no need to apologise or proclaim your morality to the world for the actions of individual citizens, nor do you have to fall over yourselves to prove it, nor do you owe anyone any explanations.
You are not going to win any kudos.
You are not going to slow, stop or reverse the world’s assessment of you. It has already made up its mind.
Globally you’ve already been indicted as a war criminal guilty of land theft, using excessive force, carrying out mass killings and even committing genocide.
Your military and political leaders have been threatened with arrest should they visit foreign lands.
Apologies play right into all of that.
By now you should have learned to close ranks.
Deal with your soldiers, with your citizens, domestically, and maintain a “no comment” position with international journalists and foreign politicians who, like crows perched near a wounded man, are just waiting for the chance to come and pluck out your enemy-appeasing eyes.
Stay the course, Israel. After 2000 years of arrogant presumption by the Gentiles, who would have done away with you long ago if they had had their way, you are accountable only to the Almighty who has named Himself as your God. Let Him be your defence.
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb;
They flatter with their tongue.
Pronounce them guilty, O God!
Let them fall by their own counsels;
Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
For they have rebelled against You.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You. (Psalm 5:8-11)
March 24, 2016: Europe – If you feed the devil!
June 24, 2015: “The idea of a clash between Islam and ‘the West’… has misled our policies and our narratives. Islam holds a place in our Western societies. Islam belongs in Europe…. I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture.” – EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Frederica Mogherini seen here laughing with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif as they negotiated the ‘Iran Agreement.’
January 16, 2016: Mogherini, representing the six world powers, announced the lifting of “multilateral and national” sanctions against Iran in Vienna, saying the nuclear deal showed that intense diplomacy could resolve even “the most difficult issues.”
March 22, 2016: Mogherini crying after Muslims blow themselves up in Brussels killing 31 at least and wounding 250.
She ain’t seen nothing yet. None of Europe has. This has only just begun.
February 21, 2016: Murder and mayhem in ‘our’ supermarket
Tuvia Weissman (21) came home this weekend to be with his wife Yael and their baby daughter Netta. Thursday saw them out shopping at a nearby supermarket so that Tuvia could return to his military base this morning knowing his young family had everything they would need while he was away.
They may have everything they needed from the shop – but Tuvia won’t be returning to base; Yael no longer has a husband, and four-month old Netta will never again have her father.
Hearing screaming in the shop, and knowing immediately what was happening, Tuvia ran to apprehend two Arabs who had pulled out knives and started a stabbing spree – the latest in the almost daily Arab terror attacks Israelis have been subjected to since late last year. (There was a stabbing on Friday, an attempt on Saturday and another attempt this Sunday morning as I was writing this).
Sheltering Netta in another supermarket aisle, Yael waited in vain for Tuvia to come back. The unarmed man was set upon and suffered multiple stab wounds to his body. Medical personnel fought for, but could not save, his life.
It is very easy for me to picture the attack scene, even though I was not there on Thursday.
We frequently do our weekly shop at the Rami Levi supermarket at Sha’ar Binyamin (The Gate of Benjamin) – northern boundary of the Jerusalem district in antiquity.
It’s about an hour’s drive from our home and there are plenty of places nearer, but my wife likes the clean, wide, well-stocked aisles and if we get there in the mornings early in the week it’s not crowded at all. On top of this there is always help packing the groceries at the checkout counter and pushing the trolleys to the car (a family of nine usually means two full trolleys, or shopping carts as Americans call them).
We like the fact that we are supporting the economy of the Jewish communities in the ‘occupied territories’.*
The drive out is through a north-eastern entrance to Jerusalem – Israel’s capital and largest city with nearly 800,000 residents – through the biblical Azmaveth (Hizme)** locale checkpoint that takes us to the other side of the security barrier. This is the misrepresented ‘Apartheid Wall’ (which is mostly fence) that was erected to help protect Israel’s Jews from Arabs with bombs strapped to their bodies – and has helped.
Our journey continues on via the Ramallah bypass road – Jews have to bypass Ramallah because if they accidentally enter the ‘Palestinian’ city they will be murdered – and through the (at this time of the year) velvety-green hills of the tribal allotment of Benjamin that is situated between Judah and the mountains of Ephraim.
We drive by the nearly-4000 year old Bani Israel burial mounds (graves of Jews from the time of Jacob), pass the Jewish town of Adam (named after IDF Deputy-Chief of Staff Yekutiel Adam who fell in Lebanon in 1982), then wind our way downhill to the plateau near the Arab town of Mukhmas, which preserves the name of the Hebrew town of Michmash where Jonathan and his armour-bearer routed the Philistines while a flabbergasted King Saul looked on from nearby Migron (today another Jewish ‘settlement’).
Tuvia, Yael and Netta had made their home in their ancestral land in the town of Ma’aleh Michmash. The world calls them ‘settlers’ and accuses them of occupying Arab territories. But it is Israel’s history – ancient and modern – that seeps from every hill, wadi and plateau – from the very pores of this place.
It is Israel’s land.
The stabbing, ramming intifada as it is being called – of which Tuvia Weissmann is just the latest victim – is a hate-driven, racist, globally-backed effort to force the Jews out so that the Arabs can create a new state called Palestine in Israel’s national home.
The entire world is complicit in this effort – at the forefront, President Barack Obama’s United States of America.
Thus I read with disgust the words of State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner who, while insisting that he was conveying the Obama administration’s “deepest condolences to [Tuvia’s] family and friends,” and mouthing words about condemning the attack that killed Weissman (who also had US citizenship), saying “there is no justification for terrorism,” then proceeded to call on “all sides (sic!) to reject violence and urgently take steps to restore calm, reduce tensions and bring an immediate end to the violence.”
The hypocrisy is sickening if not new.
In the administration’s view, Tuvia was an ‘illegal settler’ who simply by living in Samaria contributed to the ‘violence’ to which he fell victim.
In other words, he got what was coming to him – as do all Jewish ‘settlers’ who are murdered by Palestinian Arabs.
Memo to Donald Trump:
Republican contender Donald Trump said last week that, in the event he becomes president of the United States, he would maintain a “neutral” posture on the Arab-Israeli conflict and take “one hell of a shot” at securing peace between the two sides.
Mr Trump – Staying neutral is not an option, and trying to do so will never bring peace. There is a right and a wrong in this conflict. The Jews are in their ancient homeland, the place where they became a nation. As a Christian (as you said you are in response to the pope’s recent questioning of your faith) your Israel-centric Bible is set in this land and specifically in those parts of the land that the world calls the ‘West Bank’. Your Jesus – a Jew – grew up in the Land of Israel (see, for example, the Gospel according to Matthew 2:20.)
These Jews have demonstrated that they are willing to talk about giving parts of this treasured national land over to their sworn enemies, people who have no national history here whatsoever, in exchange for peace. Much of that land – significantly the parts where there is a mass Arab population – has already been placed under ‘Palestinian Authority’ control. In return there has not been peace but more terrorism, and more war.
The Arabs have responded with violence to all of Israel’s peace overtures. I have witnessed this for more than 25 years.
The man with whom Israel has sought to negotiate a peace agreement – Mahmoud Abbas – unleashed this ‘intifada’ against Israel and regularly applauds the efforts of the Arabs who die while carrying out these terrorist attacks on Jews.
You cannot possible be neutral in how you relate to Abbas and his ‘people’.
* Of course they are not ‘territories’, much less ‘Israeli-occupied territories’ as the media delights in labeling them. What they are today is Arab-occupied terror-tories – parts of the historical ancestral lands of Israel where the land-thieving servants of Allah who call themselves the Palestinians prey on Jewish civilians, and butcher them.
** Hizme – Archeologist William F Albright and others identified Hizme with the biblical town of Azmaveth of the tribe of Benjamin.
January 17, 2016: Inexplicable Israel
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 – my emphasis)
This morning I was asked by a couple – in Israel for a short time on their first ever visit – what it is that I share when I write or talk about this land. An intellectual pair, they appeared to have concluded after just a few days here that there surely had to be human answers to this nation’s ‘problems.’ We have seen that people of different religions can live together peacefully in this land side by side – they maintained. Look at everything that Israel has contributed to the region and to the world. Surely they are able to find a way to peace?
They were astonished to learn that, even though Israel is on record as being willing to give away to the Palestinian Arabs their most sacred national treasures – and this is something that has been done publicly, in full view of the world’s press corps, if you like – it has still not been enough to get a peace agreement with the Palestinian Arabs. And despite the terrible cost in human life which Israel’s pursuit of peace as dictated by the world has cost her, and the risks she has been willing to take, even with the lives of her own people, to try attain to such a peace, it has still not been enough to convince the world that Israel is not to blame for the ongoing strife. And notwithstanding the incredible gifts to mankind Israel has been willing to freely share with a multitude of nations – including some of her traditional foes – most still see Israel as one of the main reasons why there is no peace in the world today.
Some say the ‘I’ in Israel stands for inventiveness or innovation, and so it does. But for me it stands for ‘inexplicable’ – inexplicable in human terms*; without recourse to reason or logic or precedent.
Israel’s history is simply unparalleled. As an ancient cradle-of-civilisation nation, and as a modern one, the Jewish people are without peer.
None of our Gentile nations can touch them. We don’t even come close.
Tell me, if you refute this – or write it off as the romantic ranting of a deluded Philo-semite (and I’ve been presumptuously accused of being blinded by love for Israel or elevating this nation to a position of worship) – which other people can hold a candle to the history of the Jews?
How could they go from 2000 years of being persona no grata almost everywhere they went — wandering the face of the earth; exiled from their land and with no political power of their own and no goodwill on the part of other nations to help them return to it; weathering and barely surviving repeated efforts to annihilate them as a nation both physically and by trying to force them to relinquish their Jewish faith — to being reconstituted as the powerhouse nation they have become back within the confines of their original little land here in the centre of the earth?
Tell me if you will, how could they go from this to this? (You’ll need 3 minutes to watch the first clip and an hour to watch the second. Every minute will be an investment for those interested in the Israel story.)
Clip 1 – BBC coverage of the emancipation of the Bergen Belsen death camp in which we hear the just-rescued, barely living Jewish survivors gathering around their rabbi to sing Hatikvah – ‘The Hope’ – the song destined to become the anthem of the resurrected national home for the Jews. In its full modern form the words read:
As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,
With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,
Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost:
To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
Emaciated, dying, and surrounded by the corpses of their family members and other luckless Jews, they sang of the hope that was in them to return as a nation to their land.
This would have been one of their first acts of freedom, this lifting of voices in such a song. The BBC reporter says the effort exhausted them but they were determined to be heard. When you consider the setting, the circumstances, and the timing – still a few years away from the declaration of a Jewish homeland – this recording is an enormously poignant fragment of Holocaust history.
Clip 2 – CBN coverage of what they have achieved in just under seven decades as a resurrected nation, and how they have blessed and continue to bless the very nations that saw them as accursed and treated them as such. This documentary will move you in quite a different and very positive way.
Israel – God’s Chosen People, called to be a light unto the gentiles; children of the man who was told by God that in his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed.
Inventive? No question. Innovative? Massively. Inexplicable? Yes – beyond rationale and almost beyond belief.
They should have been destroyed. They should not have survived. It is barely conceivable that they did, and then to go on from there to rebirth a country and one that has the admiration and envy (not to say hatred) of the majority of the rest of the world …
It is as they sang behind the barbed wire, and as they sing today – Hope kept them; hope inspired them; hope restored and grew and prospered them.
And it is as their God in heaven said concerning them: There is hope in your future, says the Lord, that your children shall come back to their own border. (Jeremiah 31:17 – my emphasis)
* For those who believe the Bible there is no mystery.
December 24, 2015: Christian Christmas blind spot
The irony often strikes me – but for the longest time no longer surprises – that the land in which Jesus was born and the nation He came to be a part of is virtually the only place on earth Christmas is not celebrated.
It’s not as if Christmas trees only go up in ‘Christian-friendly’ countries. Beijing, Moscow, New Delhi all have them. (Christmas has been banned in a few lands – Brunei, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Tajikistan.)
But even after 27 years in Israel I still note how Christmas Day here is just a normal weekday (excepting for the small Christian Arab community and handful of Evangelical ex-pats) – and while ‘everywhere’ else on earth people are going on holiday and sitting around trees with flashing lights and opening gifts and eating sumptuous (or at least specially different) meals and singing carols – here in Israel it’s work and school (and terrorism) as usual.
It can feel sad.
What is sad – tragic actually – is the way that for most Christians in the western tradition at least – and I imagine wherever they find themselves – the Christmas story is so well known and yet so terribly misunderstood. It’s heart and focus and direction and fulfillment is barely part of the story, if at all.
For most, it could have happened anywhere.
An angel visits a girl and tells her she is going to birth a child who will save mankind from sin. On a silent night a baby is born in a stable and laid away in a manger as the cattle low. A choir of angels from the realms of glory sing the first Noël to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay watching their sheep – and tells them to go looking for a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. A star of wonder with royal beauty bright guides ‘three’ kings of Orient with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the place where the one who will be King forever is to be found.
In churches on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we’ll read from the Gospels. Matthew, Mark and Luke – the doctor is really a favourite. He lays it all out – the whole story.
How is it then that we miss it? Hark to what it is that the angels are heralding! Jesus came to be manifest to Israel, in response to the God of Israel’s promise to the father of the nation of Israel – Abraham, concerning his seed!
Look again at the words of Gabriel to the young woman in Nazareth (No Roman Catholic Madonna, she was a Hebrew maiden called Miriam):
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:31-33 – Emphasis mine)
Read afresh Mary’s response to the message:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. … He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.” (Luke 1:46-48; 54-55 – My emphasis)
Go back and read the prophetic response of Zacharias – of the Israelite tribe of Levi – to another, related birth:
“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham: To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life…” (Luke 1:68-75 – Emphasis mine; the ‘us’ and ‘we’ and ‘our’ referring in the first place to the people of Israel.)
We’ve so ‘gentilised ‘ our faith that we barely remember that He did not come but to the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel’ (Matthew 15:24) and we forget how He was greeted later – on ‘Palm Sunday’ as we call it – by the crowds of Jews, all in Jerusalem for a Feast of the Jews:
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9-10)
“Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” (John 12:13)
At the very heart of the Christmas story and the whole life of Jesus is the fulfillment of a promise made to Abraham and to Moses and to Israel. It’s all about a Jewish baby born to a Jewish family in the dynasty line of a Jewish king in a Jewish country, visited by Jewish shepherds and born to be – in the words of the wise men – the ‘King of the Jews.’
Yet not one in 100 million Christians who are celebrating Christmas today will spare a passing thought for the nation to whom He came – for His countrymen or for His country. Israel will understandably not think much about Christmas, and Christians will not be considering Israel.
Some might – but likely only in the context of the latest headline out of this troublesome country, and the accompanying wish that if only these Jews could stop fighting against the Arabs and do their bit to ensure that there will be peace on earth, good will will be toward men.
December 13, 2015: To those who are offended
Every time I post something on these pages that unequivocally confronts and exposes lies or evil or/and strongly puts out truth, some of my readers unsubscribe. And every un-subscription notification I receive causes me to wonder whether I could not have said something more carefully or gently, perhaps. Was it really necessary to come out with both barrels blazing?
The fact is, there are times when one is left with little choice but to tell the truth as it stands, and if some people are going to be offended then they are going to be offended. In today’s politically correct world, and perhaps especially among Christians who mistakenly believe that Jesus teaches us to be the sugar – instead of the salt – of the earth, this will invariably happen.
When it comes to Islam, I guess it kind of boils down to what is the best way to wake up people who are having sand sprinkled in their eyes – and mostly by the very ones who are not willing to expose the blood and guts barbarism of this ‘religion.’ We try to ‘not offend’ and we try to be ‘tolerant’ but in the end it is precisely our softly softly approach that Muslims are exploiting to the hilt – and if Islam is spreading like the plague, which it is, then it is because we are not crying out loud enough “Danger!!!”
That gentler approach has not served to wake people up. It never really will. As I have sadly seen here in Israel over the the last quarter of a century, the only thing that gets the Jewish electorate moving in the right direction (away from the immoral and bankrupt land-for-peace process) is blood: The more Jewish blood spilled, the more they wake up to the folly of pursuing that path.
And then there is the account of the man who stood outside the theater at Piccadilly Circus when the newsreels ran about Chamberlain’s agreement with Hitler at Munich. As the crowds came pouring out, jubilant at the ‘Peace for our time’ message, this lone man stood there holding up his sign warning of the terrible danger of Nazism. They knocked him into the gutter and went on their way rejoicing.
Sometimes people just don’t want to hear truth. But if that truth is that terrible destruction is coming, you tell it anyway.
Noah built his ark – and you can be sure that over the course of the century it took for him to construct it, he was chastised and berated for being a prophet of doom and gloom. They would have slashed his tires if he’d had any. No one wanted to hear…
When you see a house burning down you don’t knock on the door or tiptoe into the bedrooms to gently shake the occupants awake. You smash your way into the house and and shout out the danger, making as much noise as you can to get them up and out – to save their lives.
When it comes to the peril Islam poses to our Judeo-Christian civilization, we should have begun crying “Fire! Fire!” a long time ago.
Why Franklin Graham says Donald Trump is right
December 11, 2015: No reason to defend Islam
We will not be intimidated or even unsettled. And we will certainly not be infected by the great big, hot air-filled, fear-fomenting political correctness that is jumping up and down and screaming “bigot!” and “Islamophobe!” at Donald Trump and Tony Abbott and anyone else who dares to finger Islam for what it is.
I would be willing to bet (but I don’t gamble) that the Republican presidential contender’s popularity will only benefit from his courageous statement about restricting Muslim immigration to the United States at this time.*
It was in the same vein of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election avowal that in the chaotic Middle East of today there can be no establishing of a Palestinian state, and there won’t be on his watch.
These men are realists. And they have an important ally at this significant moment in world history in recently ousted Australian Prime Minister Abbott (whose political future is in God’s hands, not man’s).
And Stephen Harper – I know he was likewise just recently deposed, and I mean this kindly, but we’re waiting to hear from him too.
I was going to call Trump the “controversial” contender but the fact is that in America he’s only really controversial to a minority – the left wing pundit class.
The United States has an enormous pool of people – the hitherto ‘silent majority’ deeply disillusioned by an obsolete Washington and rendered dumb by liberal near media-monopoly – that long ago stopped answering pollsters and gave up voting in elections. It is these healthy people who are working to get Trump into the White House. Yishar Koach to them.
Those so PC-contaminated that they cannot tell the difference between faiths that promote peace and the bloodthirsty ideology that drives Islam are baring their own throats for Allah’s blades. We don’t need to let them frighten us just because they happen to dominate the media platform from which they scream their bloody blue murders at everyone who opposes them.
Clear thinkers will not be so easily brow beaten into agreeing to national suicide.
Bibi should definitely meet with the Donald.** And although he won’t do so publicly, the Israeli can absolutely applaud the American for having the guts – what we here in Israel call the beitsim – to tell it like it is.
A word to my Jewish readers: it came as no surprise that some of you in both the United States and in Israel expressed outrage at what Trump said.
Long live the ADL! At least insofar as it fights against every little bit of anti-Semitism that raises its head anywhere.
But while your people have suffered unspeakable discriminations throughout Jewish history, and so are quick and keen to rise in defense of other targets of prejudice, I frankly believe your plea on behalf of Muslims to be misguided.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Saracens are streaming almost unchecked into Judeo-Christian-founded countries. An untold and – unless they are painstakingly processed – unknowable number are intent on either unleashing the kind of bloodshed that we just saw in Paris and see every day in Israel, or have been programmed to incite already resident Muslims to carry out such atrocities.
All decent societies should and would welcome with open arms – or at least with sympathetic ones – those refugees fleeing war who wish to live in peace and pose no threat to those among whom they seek to settle.
But it is only the worst form of suicidal self-delusion that insists on allowing those representing a movement which at its centre calls for the destruction of others, to deluge a country where the intended victims have hitherto enjoyed security and peace. Would there have been an outcry against a call for Nazis to be banned from entry into the United States? The Holocaust stands alone, but it was perpetrated by an ideaology that lives on in other forms.
On December 7, Washington-based news agency CNSNews reported that, “since the Paris terror attacks on November 13, the State Department has admitted 237 Syrian refugees into the United States – 236 Sunni Muslims and one Christian.”
Here in Israel, opposition to Trump has come mostly from the left. (They should know better, but we are almost resigned to their illogical imaginings.) To American Jews supporting unrestricted Muslim immigration, unable to see that this isn’t about religion or ideology but about security – your own – Do not think that you are safe in the house of Ahaseurus and that you will escape the intent and design of the followers of Allah.
Islam teaches holy war – not the repackaged version as sold by certain liberal ‘imams’ and other revisionists who assert that jihad can be a battle of minds as much as anything else and does not need to be physically violent, but the original version as taught and enthusiastically practiced by “the prophet” – a jihad that is almost always physically violent and the straightforward goal of which is to coerce into submission those resistant to conversion – or kill them.
At what point will we be willing to call Islam itself the evil that it is, and stop kowtowing to the ethos of our age that insists on whitewashing this ‘religion’ by misidentifying its most faithful adherents as ‘Islamists’ or ‘Jihadists’ or ‘extremists’?
I put this question to an American senator in a face-to-face meeting at his Washington DC offices a few years ago. The context was the benefits that had accrued to Islam in the aftermath of 9-11 when, in a perhaps understandable effort to deflect anger away from innocent Muslim Americans, George W. Bush sounded what became a mantra of his and successive American administrations – that Islam is a religion of peace.
This over-correction in the wake of the worst act of war ever inflicted on the American mainland fertilized the growth of that ‘religion’ in the United States.
They were not Islamists or extremists, I opined to the senator. They were good, observant Muslims. What drove them to fly the planes into the Twin Towers was their faithful following of clear-cut Islam and the example set by its founder, not their twisted interpretation of an extreme version.
The clearly unsettled senator grew angry at my insistence that the religion itself is the problem: “You want us to declare war on 1.6 billion people?”
I heatedly responded (thereby causing him to terminate our meeting): “How many American deaths will it take? You weren’t ready to call a spade a spade after 3000 were killed on 9-11. Will you only identify the wellspring of this evil after Muslims detonate a dirty bomb over a US city, leading to tens or even hundreds of thousands of American deaths?”
Slice and dice it anyway you choose. Islam is an evil ‘religion’ – a death-worshipping ideological cult that rules by fear and intimidation – calling for the unquestioning veneration of a demonic deity accorded its current status thanks to the life efforts of an extremely violent, paedophilic man known to his disciples as ‘the prophet’.
This is the indisputable bottom line. Unrevised historic fact. Unless and until it is grasped and accepted by Western leaders their efforts to defend our civilization from Islamic conquest will be doomed to irremediable failure.
We are in a war we never wanted. It has to be fought like a war: The enemy must be accurately identified and strategically confronted.
Time is not on our side.
* The latest Fox Poll suggests 65 percent of Republican voters support Trump’s statement.
** Trump just tweeted as I was writing this: “have decided to postpone my trip to Israel and to schedule my meeting with @Netanyahu at a later date after I become President of the U.S.”
November 13, 2015: This bloodthirsty Allah – Killer of Jews
Earlier Arabs were handing out candies to celebrate what Hamas called the ‘heroic’ murdering of members of a civilian family.
Today at least one servant of this Allah, possibly more, killed two Jews – two hated settlers, a father and a son who, together with a mother and three daughters, were driving from Kiryat Arba to visit friends in the southern Hebron hills for the Sabbath.
News reports tell us that a brave soldier of this bloodthirsty god opened fire from the roadside on the family in their van, bringing it to a standstill. This honourable emulator of Mohammed, his ‘prophet’ who set the example of serving Allah by murdering Jews and others in the Middle East of his day – walked towards the Jews, firing as he went.
In the glorious tradition of his yellow-bellied fellow fighters, he then ran for the hills, seeking refuge among admiring fellow Arabs, where the Israel Defense Forces are currently hunting him and will hopefully ferret him out.
He doesn’t warrant the headlines of ‘Jihadi John’ who was hopefully killed in an American drone strike this afternoon, but he is every bit as deserving of death.
“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.” (Genesis 9:6)
Those who insist that Israel continue to enable these killers by rewarding them with a state of their own are nothing short of complicit in the killings of all the victims of Palestinian Arab terror.
November 9, 2015: Our message to Israel
Certainly Michelle Bachmann – after reportedly calling publicly for the conversion to Christianity of as many Jews (and others) as possible and making it clear that her support for Israel is motivated by a desire to see the soon return of Jesus – will never be truly trusted by most Jewish people again – not least by those in the nation she so earnestly desires to befriend.
It’s a crying shame, but perhaps this doesn’t unduly trouble Mrs Bachmann; I do not know what goes on in her heart. In any case this is not meant to be a judgment call against her.
What I do know is that in one very real sense* the Jews of Israel as well as the Jews still in the Diaspora need to know that they have true and unconditional friends. They have very few in this world.
On today’s global stage Israel stands virtually alone, surrounded by concentric rings of foes: a Middle East where hundreds of millions of Muslim Arabs are daily steeped in Israel and Jew hatred; the 57 member states (with a collective population of 1.4 billion) of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation; the 120 member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (with an anti-Semitic South Africa at the head); the 28 member states of the European Union (almost unanimously anti-Semitic with the notable periodic exception of the Czechs); an international community as represented by the 193 member states of the United Nations, (known for their skewed and disproportionate condemnations of Israel, with until very recently the occasional exception of Australia, Canada and again the Czech Republic, plus a handful of tiny island nations); the Vatican with its 1.25 billion members; and the World Council of Churches with its multiplicity of Orthodox churches and most of the mainline Protestant denominations.
Nor is this an exhaustive list.
Just look around the world and tell me where Israel has any friends left today. Real friends – friends without agendas and without attached conditions to their friendship.
There should be one exception – and in a way there is – and that is the men and women in nations around the world who are united in love for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
What true Christians in the ranks of these lovers of God simply have got to see if they want Israel to count them as friends and trustworthy allies, is that the Jewish people have been targeted for conversion to Christianity for nearly 2000 years, more often violently than otherwise – and that by far the vast majority of professing Christians have predicated any ‘love for the Jews’ on the Jews’ accepting of Jesus as Messiah.** And the Jews know this.
As Christians we hold with unshakeable conviction what we believe about the identity of Messiah – otherwise we cannot call ourselves Christians. No non-Christian can expect us to believe any different.
And in fact it should be precisely because of our belief in and love for Him that we stand with Israel.
But there can be no perceived self-serving end to this support or it will not be considered friendship.
The place to which those of us who truly want to do God’s will concerning Israel need to turn for Divine instructions on how to commit to an unconditional love for the Jews is the Bible.
And it is specifically that part of the Bible we have so erroneously and grievously called the ‘Old Testament’*** that tells us what God is doing with Israel, and instructs us and gives us God’s mandate on how to relate to His purposes.
This is what it calls us to do concerning the Jews:
Strengthen the weak hands,
And make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.” (Isaiah 35:3-4)
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins.” …
You who bring good tidings to Zion,
Get up into the high mountain;
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem,
Lift up your voice with strength,
Lift it up, be not afraid;
Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”
Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.
He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young. (Isaiah 40:1-2, 9-11)
How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation (not the ‘Christian’ concept of salvation – for the Jew it is salvation from those seeking to destroy them – see verse 10 for the context of this salvation),
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
Your watchmen shall lift up their voices,
With their voices they shall sing together;
For they shall see eye to eye
When the Lord brings back Zion.
Break forth into joy, sing together,
You waste places of Jerusalem!
For the Lord has comforted His people,
He has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord has made bare His holy arm
In the eyes of all the nations;
And all the ends of the earth shall see
The salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:7-10)
Behold, on the mountains
The feet of him who brings good tidings,
Who proclaims peace!
O Judah, keep your appointed feasts,
Perform your vows.
For the wicked one shall no more pass through you;
He is utterly cut off. (Nahum 1:15)
This is what the Bible instructs us to say that He will do:
“Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations,
And set up My standard for the peoples;
They shall bring your sons in their arms,
And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders;
Kings shall be your foster fathers,
And their queens your nursing mothers;
They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth,
And lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord,
For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.” (Isaiah 49:22-23)
This is to be our message to the Jewish people:
“But do not fear, O My servant Jacob,
And do not be dismayed, O Israel!
For behold, I will save you from afar,
And your offspring from the land of their captivity;
Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease;
No one shall make him afraid.
Do not fear, O Jacob My servant,” says the Lord,
“For I am with you;
For I will make a complete end of all the nations
To which I have driven you,
But I will not make a complete end of you.
I will rightly correct you,
For I will not leave you wholly unpunished.” (Jeremiah 46:27-28)
Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. (Ezekiel 37:12-13)
And this is what we Christians should be saying to our nations concerning Israel and the Jews – as a proclamation and as a warning:
For thus says the Lord:
“Sing with gladness for Jacob,
And shout among the chief of the nations;
Proclaim, give praise, and say,
‘O Lord, save Your people,
The remnant of Israel!’
Behold, I will bring them from the north country,
And gather them from the ends of the earth,
Among them the blind and the lame,
The woman with child
And the one who labors with child, together;
A great throng shall return there.
They shall come with weeping,
And with supplications I will lead them.
I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters,
In a straight way in which they shall not stumble;
For I am a Father to Israel,
And Ephraim is My firstborn.
“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
And declare it in the isles afar off, and say,
‘He who scattered Israel will gather him,
And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
And ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he. (Jeremiah 31:7-11)
Nowhere in the Bible are we mandated to go after the scattered – and now being regathered – Jewish people in an effort to turn them into Christians.
We are told to point them in the direction of their God, and – as the nations and peoples turn against them – to encourage them with His myriad promises to regather and replant and re-grow and preserve them in the land He gave them forever.
* I say ‘in one sense’ because truly they don’t ‘need’ any of us. As their great king, David, instructed his people:
I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies. …
For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God I can leap over a wall.
As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (Psalm 18: 1-3, 29-30)
Israel needs God only and then is in the majority. And the thing is, Israel HAS God. He calls Himself the LORD God of Israel. He’s got her back, and her front, and every side of her. No ISIS, no Iran, no Palestinian State, no American administration, no UN, no EU, nothing is able to destroy this nation.
But while God is doing the business of physically restoring His people Israel to the land of their inheritance, an act which will be followed by their spiritual restoration to Himself, Israel has a very real need to know true friends in the world who will stand with her unconditionally and say to her: “Look, it’s YOUR God at work.”
** Rome’s Inquisitions and the Reformation’s Martin Luther are only two examples of the expression of this form of ‘Christian love’ – and both Catholicism and Protestantism have histories of vicious anti-Semitism against the Jewish people who resisted conversion.
*** Most Christians don’t even stop to think about what our labeling of the Tanach (Hebrew Scriptures – the Bible used by Jesus and all the Apostles) as the ‘Old’ Testament has done to our perception of the God of Israel, the people of Israel and the land of Israel. Probably not one in ten million Christians knows that the label ‘Old Testament’ was not God’s application but the creation of an anti-Semitic early ‘Church Father’ – Melito of Sardis – in the Second Century AD. He was the one who wrote the celebrated sermon accusing the Jews of Deicide and justifying Christian anti-Semitism as a response.
November 1, 2015: You and the US can’t evade blame, Bill Clinton
Most Israelis* know that Yitzhak Rabin was slain at the hands of a religious Jew. Yigal Amir sits in an Israeli jail because he pointed a gun at the back of the prime minister 20 years ago and pulled the trigger.
Last night, Bill Clinton stood in Tel Aviv and “warmly and passionately urged [Israel] to continue the legacy of … Rabin and pursue the goal of peace with the Palestinians.”
Clinton does ‘warmly and passionately’ well.
Years ago, when the bombs were going off all over the land and Jews were flocking to cemeteries to bury their dead, Clinton was almost fawningly looked upon as a ‘saviour of Israel.’
How sickening that a man who softly seduced a love-starved and brutally battered nation into calling him their friend can stand, wiping away ‘tears’ two decades later, and perpetuate the falsehood that Rabin’s life’s legacy was the pursuit of peace with the Palestinians.
Rabin’s legacy lies elsewhere, and predates ‘Oslo.’ And hopefully his legacy will outlive Oslo, and he won’t forever be the one held responsible for what was de facto the policy of Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin and Uri Savir – with the blessing and connivance of the Clinton administration. Let them wear that badge, not Rabin, even if, as prime minister, the buck stopped with him. The leftists’ ‘peace’ policy cost hundreds of Israelis their lives, thousands of Israelis their physical health and dealt an entire nation a psychological hammering that continues right up to today.
In truth – and Heaven has already recorded this, I believe – the buck stops with the United States – the ‘chief sponsor’ as Washington likes to call itself, of the process misnamed ‘land for peace.’
Since 1991, the US, under both Republican and Democrat administrations, has pushed and cajoled and bribed and browbeaten Israel – which finds its security, internationally, almost solely in the arms of the United States, according, for example, to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin** – along the morally, politically and militarily bankrupt ‘land for peace’ road.
American ‘friendship’ dragged Israel to Madrid in 1991 and twisted Israel’s arm on the White House lawn in 1993. American ‘friendship’ saw Yasser Arafat resuscitated and brought to Israel to receive fame and a peace prize and large packages of land. American ‘friendship’ pushed Israel to continue to hand over more parcels of land as terrorism intensified and the death toll climbed. American ‘friendship’ pushed Israel into pulling out of the Security Zone in southern Lebanon in 2000 and out of the Gaza Strip in 2005 – directly leading to the establishment of missile launching pads from which thousands of rockets have been fired into Israel and where tens of thousands more rockets are waiting to be launched at any moment.
American ‘friendship’ led to the signing of an appeasement agreement with Iran that will strengthen that country, enabling it to continue financing terror and war against Israel, and to continue to completion of its quest for a nuclear bomb.
American ‘friendship’ has brought Israel anything but peace. That Israelis still fawn over Bill Clinton and try to find some reason to still trust the Obama administration says a great deal about Israel’s aloneness and need for her God’s intervention (and He will intervene, soon) and a great deal more about the culpability of a nation whose leader once called Yitzhak Rabin ‘chaver’ (Hebrew for ‘friend) but whose friendship has been anything but loving and caring for this nation.
* A myriad unanswered questions surround accounts of the Rabin assassination and there are many in Israel who have wondered whether the widely accepted version is indeed the truth.
** “There are three principles to Israel’s foreign policy,” President Reuven Rivlin said in an interview with the Israel leftist newspaper Ha’aretz last year. “First, relations with the US; second, relations with the US; and the third principle – relations with the US.”
October 28, 2015: A warning from the not-too-distant pass
When Israel’s enemies are welcomed in other countries – let the Jews in those countries beware – and leave.
October 24, 2015: The evil roots of Palestinianism
News item: The White House warned Benjamin Netanyahu against “inflammatory rhetoric” Thursday, in a sharp response to a statement by the Israeli prime minister to the effect that a Palestinian religious leader [Haj Amin el-Husseini] provoked the Holocaust. (Times of Israel October 22, 2015)
What is all the fuss about? ‘Palestinian’ anti-Semitism is no big secret. It runs wall-to-wall through Palestinian Arab society.
The Jews are hated in all the Arab states. Nearly a million had to flee for their lives from Arab rage at the State of Israel being born.
The Islamic-Arab world is anti-Semitic through and through. Ample documentation designates it that way – the whole Islamic world in fact; Islam in fact. *
But let’s just talk about the Palestinians in their invented pseudo-state of Palestine (and in the Kingdom of Jordan, which is mostly Palestinian Arab).
Where else in the world of post-Nazi Germany and post-apartheid South Africa would rabid racism be tolerated and supported as it is?
Where else in the post-World War II era is it a capital offence to simply sell land to a Jew?
Where else in the modern politically correct world is it forbidden to have a Jewish prime minister or president, or town mayor for that matter?
How is it that the Palestinian Arabs can demand their national recognition but deny others theirs, the way Abbas refuses obdurately to recognize Israel as the State of the Jews?
I’m sorry if it’s unpalatable to hear – it no doubt offends PC sensibilities – but based purely on objective history, Palestinianism in practice and in purpose is not a type of nationalism per se but rather a complete form of anti-Semitism.
It has been from the start.
And it runs in an unbroken line from the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, through Yasser Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mash’al. **
From the seeding of their ‘nationalism’ in the years immediately following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire – long before they called themselves Palestinians – the Arabs whose sights are set on stealing Israel’s ancient national lands have been rampant anti-Semites.
Their cause, which wears the misnomer Palestinian nationalism, has always been in the vanguard of Arab anti-Semitism.
So probably not in his wildest dreams would the el-Husseini have expected the Judeo-Christian West to come to his defense, much less to become the biggest sponsor and facilitator of the cause to which he gave birth.
The acknowledged enthusiastic and sycophantic support he gave to, and received from, Adolf Hitler in pursuit of his Arab dream should – reasonably – have seen that cause run into a brick wall or been starved of all oxygen with the near universal horror at the discovery of what the Nazis had perpetrated in the death camps.
But the Mufti learned a valuable and timeless lesson, one that has held up to this very day:
That when it comes to the cause of the Palestinian Arabs against the Jews, violence pays. Despite the West’s temporary shock at the sheer size and scale of the Holocaust conducted on its doorstep, Western anti-Semitism was not tamed, and Western powers were – and are – willing to appease Muslim violence at the expense of the Jews.
Over nearly one hundred years, the edifice of Palestinianism has been constructed on this violence and terror.
It was through the violent anti-Jewish pogroms he directed in 1920 and 1929, and through the Arab Revolt against Jewish immigration in the 1930s, that el-Husseini got the British Empire to partition the scrap of land that was left after two-thirds had been summarily taken to create Trans-Jordan and appease a Hashemite.
The international community had given Britain a mandate to build a national home for the Jews in Palestine, not a national home for the Arabs in Palestine. It was to appease the Arab violence that the Britons exceeded and betrayed their brief.
It was through the wars resulting from the universal Arab rejectionism of Israel that the world turned its attention to, and began to squeeze Israel into making concessions to, Arab demands.
It was through the cruel exploitation of their own fellow Arabs by the Arab states, who refused to take in and alleviate the plight of the refugees resulting from the Arab-instigated wars, that a weapon or lever was created that could be used against Israel to the detriment of the security of the Jews.
It was through Yasser Arafat’s masterminding of worldwide terrorism that the ‘Palestinians’ plight’ was brought to the attention of the world, and it was to appease Arafat and his fellow terrorists that the world would take on the ‘Palestinian cause,’ ultimately leading to the signing of the Oslo Agreement.
It was through intensified and accelerated terrorism that the PLO received full and partial control respectively of the land designated as Areas ‘A’ and ‘B’ in the Palestinian Authority. And every time that Israel would not give into demands for ceding more territory terrorism increased and the world pressured Israel into surrendering that land to further appease the violent.
This proven method for progressing towards their goal of ultimately destroying Israel is in play again today as I write. And as John Kerry flew into Jordan last night with more plans to appease the Arab side at Israel’s expense, God alone knows whether we are going to see another repeat of this nearly century-old cycle, or whether everything is going to finally erupt into full scale war of biblical proportions.
For extended reading:
Elli Fisher and Carolyn Glick have written very astutely about the strategic possibilities behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to make statements at this time linking the founder of Palestinianism to Adolf Hitler. Their articles are well worth reading:
* And no, I am not anti-Arab and I am not Islamophobic. The Oxford Dictionary defines a phobia as an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. I have no irrational fear of or aversion to Islam or to Arabs.
** The same unbroken line runs backwards through history from Hitler through Christendom’s Crusades and Inquisitions via Constantine to Hadrian to Haman to Pharaoh. It is known as the spirit of Amalek, and its goal is to destroy the Jews.
October 23, 2015: Lies, lies, lies
Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer has listed 10 deadly lies about Israel that are currently being propagated internationally and poisoning the minds of more and more people against the Jewish people in their Jewish state.
Just as Hitler poisoned the minds of Germans with anti-Semitic portrayals of Europe’s Jews, other Gentile enemies of Israel are likewise poisoning the minds of their people, causing them to see Israel as the greatest threat to world peace and as an enemy that will ultimately need to be done away with.
This is Dermer’s list:
1. Israel is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
2. Israel seeks to destroy al-Aqsa mosque.
3. A recent surge in settlement construction has caused the current wave of violence.
4. President Abbas says that Israel “executed” the innocent Palestinian Ahmed Manasra.
5. Israel uses excessive force in dealing with terrorist attacks.
6. The current violence is the result of stagnation in the peace process.
7. President Abbas is a voice of moderation.
8. International action is required to enforce the status quo on the Temple Mount.
9. The reason the conflict and the violence persist is because the Palestinians don’t have a state.
10. Palestinian terrorism is the consequence of Palestinian frustration.
To read Dermer’s clear, steady and solid refutation of these falsehoods, go here.
The sons of Esau, and the rest of the gentile nations, may want to heed these words:
“For violence against your brother Jacob,
Shame shall cover you,
And you shall be cut off forever…
“For the day of the Lord upon all the nations is near;
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.
For as you drank on My holy mountain,
So shall all the nations drink continually;
Yes, they shall drink, and swallow,
And they shall be as though they had never been.
“But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance,
And there shall be holiness;
The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.
The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
And the house of Joseph a flame;
But the house of Esau shall be stubble;
They shall kindle them and devour them,
And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau,”
For the Lord has spoken. (Obadiah 10, 15-18)
October 16, 2015: The face of incitement
INCITE – TO STIR, ENCOURAGE, OR URGE ON; TO STIMULATE OR PROMPT TO ACTION
MUG SHOTS – Look at the line-up.
There are two groups represented.
One rouses and rewards others to commit terrorist acts against Israel in a bid to destroy her.
The second presses the decision-makers in Israel towards particular choices.
One type of inciter agitates for the murder of Jews, in the name of the ‘Palestinian’ cause. They act with full intent to kill every Jew and wipe Israel off the map.
The other type pushes for Israel’s suicide in the name of ‘peace’. Its perpetrators would hotly deny it. But their strategies are to Israel’s cost and detriment and potential demise.
The second type of inciter, the direct inciter of Jewish surrender, enables the first.
When the second group uses its clout to hamstring Israel, refuses to give her the room or the support to respond to terrorism with precision and finality, it empowers Israel’s enemies to continue acting out their hatred. When this type of inciter of Jewish capitulation seeks to impose its solutions on Israel – at her great cost, both in the short and long term – it has as much blood on its hands as Abbas.
The two are as guilty as each other.
For the words uttered by the faces of incitement to either terror or capitulation, go to the following links:
October 14, 2015: Before the Throne
For the sceptre of wickedness shall not rest
On the land allotted to the righteous. (Psalm 125:2)
“For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first. I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me. Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.” (Jeremiah 33:7-9)
“Also your people shall all be righteous;
They shall inherit the land forever.
The branch of My planting,
The work of My hands,
That I may be glorified.” (Isaiah 60:21)
“I will multiply them,
and they shall not diminish;
I will also glorify them,
and they shall not be small.
Their children also shall be as before,
And their congregation shall be established before Me.” (Jeremiah 30:19b-20a)
Lord, we know You are bringing Your people back to the land to do them good. (Jeremiah 32:41)
They have been through their time of trouble Lord – 2000 long years in captivity. And now they have been through 57 years of struggle against titanic odds. You have said that they have paid double for all their sins, and that You have brought them home to comfort them. (Jeremiah 30: 4-11; Isaiah 40:1-2)
Show Israel what she must do to secure the land for her people. And give her the strength to do it in the face of enormous international hostility.
– UN chief wants review of Israeli use of force, silent on terror
– Kerry links ‘increase of violence’ to Israel settlement activity
– Israel’s founding ‘a crime against humanity,’ says South Africa’s ANC
In Your own words, Lord: “Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame.” (Psalm 129:5) We remind You that You have said, that when the year of Your redeemed nation has come, that You will exact vengeance on the nations that have abused Your people and sought to divide up their land. (Isaiah 34:8; 63:4; Joel 3)
We know, Lord, that with You on Israel’s side, she has nothing to fear. (Isaiah 41:8-16; Jeremiah 30:16)
Come quickly, Lord – come and claim Your people Israel; claim the land which You have promised them, the city You love and the mountain which belongs to You. You have kept Your people alive this far, Lord; You are bringing them home, and the land is coming back to life in their hands. You have a glorious future planned. Israel is not going anywhere and no effort of the enemy can destroy her. But there is suffering still, Lord – we feel the enemy thrashing about, trying with all his might to break apart what You are building – and we ask You to say, “Enough.”
We ask You to say, “Not one moment longer.”
Prayed before Your throne and in the name of our Lord, amen.
October 12, 2015: Get them out
“Israel is a nation of law. We will not tolerate disturbances and rioting. We will act against those who throw stones, block roads and call for the establishment of a Palestinian state in place of the State of Israel. Whoever does not honour Israeli law will be punished with utmost severity. I will instruct the Interior Minister to evaluate revoking the citizenship of those who call for the destruction of the State of Israel.”
Today statements are coming out of the Israeli government with regard to introducing measures to suppress the incitement from Arab leaders – some of whom have the effrontery to bear Israeli citizenship – that is feeding the current wave of murderous aggression towards Jews.
This incitement – made effective by decades of indoctrination that shows no signs of letting up – needs counteractive voices from within. They don’t come up too often, but when they do, their unusualness and courage deserves dissemination.
Read what these Arab writers say:
October 10, 2015: Where is our voice?
The Arab violence on the Temple Mount, and the lethal form of it – with rocks and knives and firearms – on the streets of Jerusalem and in Samaria – it is unbearable that the Jews have come home to this and it is an outrage.
It makes me angry that these Arabs – full of hatred – and their leaders who, from their safe little enclaves, nurture that deep-seated animosity, who channel it into murderous acts against Jews out there on the streets – are allowed to continue living on Jewish soil. How dare they squat in the land (for squatting is what it is), enjoying the rights and freedoms they do under the Israeli government, and foment terror, plot the annihilation of the Jewish people?
If they cannot let go of their hatred, then Israel needs to let go of them, in no uncertain terms, from Abbas down. And the world can spit its fury but Israel needs to do what she must to do to secure the land for her people and for those who are willing to live in peace inside her borders, and obey her laws.
I’m all for uncompromising eviction – ushering the trespassers off the property at the end of a gun and leaving them to their fate – but I understand that might be a little too stark and brutal for some, so I advocate either paying Muslim Arabs to leave, or to accept residency tied to a sworn oath of allegiance to the State of Israel, a formal commitment to observe the laws of the land, and an understanding that eviction – not the mere threat of it but the actual result – is the immediate consequence if that oath is broken.
The people who are shining examples of what citizenship can look like have been taking pause from all the ways in which they have returned to the land – the ways they build their homes and families and communities and livelihoods (the land coming back to life as they return to it, it does well in the hands of nobody else) and are currently on the streets of Israel demanding that domestic terrorism be effectively dealt with, that Israel claim back the land being menaced with hard-hitting security initiatives that work, with widespread and long term building projects in the areas the world demands she yield to her enemies. Boots on the ground, foundations driven into the soil, roots put down, roots guarded.
And we Christian Gentiles who believe so fervently that the land is Israel’s to claim – and who wish that she would, who applaud from afar the grassroots sovereignty movement that is growing in the nation – where are we?? When the whole world is moving against Israel, in a growing tide of impatience and hostility against a people and her geography, where are we in the fight for the truncated scrap of land she is trying to hold on to? Where are our declarations to her that the land has been promised to the Jewish people – and to no one else – through the seed of Jacob – in unbroken covenant – by God FOREVER, that by Biblical mandate and under international law the land belongs to her alone?
We are nowhere to be seen. Where is our land voice? I cannot hear it. Collectively, we are silent. Where are the Christian Zionist organisations, announcing to Israel loud and clear her right to sovereignty: “The land is yours to claim. Stand and claim it. Claim it back from the usurpers who are replacing eternal truths with lies upon lies (and oh, the tedious repetition of these, sucking a willing world into their vortex). Do what you must to make the land safe for your people to dwell in – and build, build, build. All you need to know to do this is that God is on your side. With the whole world against you, you have the Mightiest Ally. He is fully intent on restoring you to the land and the land to you. Know it and live it. We stand with you.”
We should be saying it outside the PMs residence and into all the major news outlets. We should be visibly alongside those who take time out from their lives to keep public vigil and gather by the hundreds at major intersections. Every time a lie is uttered we should be blasting it into smithereens with the truth, we Gentiles who say we are standing on it. There is a physical battle to fight, a fight for the land, and we are not engaging in it.
Israel needs to see us in her land battle. In this crucial way, at this crucial hour, she needs to physically see the numbers, witness, first hand, Gentile support for Jewish sovereignty over her God-given land.
Please God, to be called a land activist for the State of Israel. Please God to be used this way, somehow.
October 2, 2015: Deafening sounds of silence
Some would say that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should not have wasted his breath when he addressed the United Nations yesterday; that instead of staring – or glaring – in silence at the representatives of the international community, he should have simply not stepped up to the podium at all.
Perhaps that’s what he will do next year.
This year, as he has done annually recently, Netanyahu used the platform of the General Assembly to appeal to the conscience of mankind. He did so as the leader of a nation that is looking with increasing apprehension for at least some of the world’s nations to come and declare, “We really do mean it when we say ‘never again’”.
For 45 long and heavy seconds, after berating the world for its silence in the face of a multitude of Iranian threats to annihilate his people, the recently re-elected prime minister just stopped talking and waited, looking around the room, scanning faces, seemingly seeking a response.
There wasn’t one. No one stood up. No one said anything.
The Iranians noted Netanyahu’s silence.
More importantly, the Iranians – and all of Israel’s enemies – have noted the silence of the world.
It’s a silence that tells them they can continue to pursue their efforts; they can continue to call for and plan the destruction of the Jewish state.
None of the Gentile nations really cared when six million European Jews were being wiped out in the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust just the other day.
No one will really care if six million Israeli Jews are wiped out in a Islamic-perpetrated holocaust today.
In fact, shocking as it is to say, the world is full of people who will rejoice at such a horror. Many national leaders can be counted among these.
It’s understandably enough to lock any Jew up in despair.
But our message to Netanyahu and his people – and to Jewish people everywhere – is, “Israel, do not fear.”
“You have no need to be afraid. The One who calls Himself your God will not allow your enemies to vanquish you.
“He is preparing to vanquish them.
“Israel, trust in the Lord. And if you are not all able to do so, then until you are we who do believe will do so for you. You are not destined for destruction. You are going to yet see the salvation of your God. He is already covering you with His wings, and He will deliver you.
“What we will all see will be His retribution on those who seek to destroy you, on those nations that, so soon after the annihilation of one in three of your people, are willing to countenance even just the remotest chance of a repeat of such a thing to stand.
“Those nations that are racing to renew business with Iran, whose business will directly aid and contribute to the Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons, and even those nations that just sit silently by as the means to destroy you are being developed – them, too, He will repay.
“In Israel, however, there will be safety. He has promised this.
“And soon there will be peace.”
September 22, 2015: Israel’s God-DNA
Some Judeo-Christian nations will have a day of prayer for the nation. Now and then Christian leaders might even call for a day of repentance.
But a calendar-fixed, God-commanded, yearly 24-hour day, when virtually every adult and teen member in a nation, those living in their homeland and those still out in exile or captivity, dry fast – afflicting their souls – and call on God to cleanse them of their iniquities and inscribe their name in His Book of Life?
No other nation on earth does anything remotely like this.
Only Israel. And Israel will always have national significance in God’s sight. (Jeremiah 31:35-36)
The people of Israel have been observing the Day of Atonement every year for millennia. And after being scattered for two thousand years, they are back in their land and still observing it.
It’s their God-DNA.
Oh, and here’s another barely-noticed marvel: even in the most secular Jewish schools, in Israel today and out in the Diaspora, the children learn about Torah – the Law of God.
Consider this incredible irony that is really nothing more than God at work:
Observing and living by the laws of God among the nations both kept the Jews from assimilating, preserving their Jewishness, and at the same time provoked persecution from a Christian world infuriated by their insistence on remaining separate and distinct, on still seeing themselves as the Chosen People in an era when most so-called Christians believed the heresy that the Jews had forfeited that calling by rejecting Jesus – and that the Church had replaced them as God’s ‘dearly beloved.’
Christians who just don’t ‘get’ God’s dealings with Israel often pull me up on this question when I refer to Moses’ prophesying the future of the Jews.
They take me to Deuteronomy 30:1-3 and following, but specifically to verses two and three:
There we read how Moses – after warning of the curses that will result from their disobedience and culminate in their dispersion – tells them that if, calling to mind these things as they wander the earth, they return (repent) and obey God’s voice and commandments, He will restore them to their land.
“When did the Jews repent?” these Christians demand to know. “Look at them. They are all secular and spiritually blind as bats.”
Naturally, the argument goes, the Jews’ return to their national home in this last century and a half can’t be what Moses was foretelling. We have not witnessed and are not witnessing the prophesied restoration of Israel. Clearly these stiff-necked Jews will have to be dispersed again or be hammered and lose another two thirds until the remnant succumb and accept Jesus.
This mixed up perspective and expectation is ingrained in the Christian response. Christians add to what Moses says: repentance, they insist, means accepting Jesus as Messiah. But that’s not what Moses says.
You see, Christians think the Jews have to repent – but they have repented, every year on Yom Kippur, for centuries.
These are Moses’ words:
Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the gentiles where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. (Deuteronomy 30:1-3)
The nation did stray. And as God prepared to banish them from their land He told them that He would turn His face away from them and close His ears to their cries.
And He did.
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood. (Isaiah 1:15)
And so in Psalm 78, as Asaph recounts the record of Israel’s intransigence, we read that for the longest time – just as when the children of Israel cried out during their centuries of slavery in Egypt – it was as if the Lord was sleeping (although He was not), as if He did not hear their prayers.
For centuries in the Diaspora, while the Jews repented every Yom Kippur and often cried out for deliverance, God appeared deaf to their cries.
But then we get to verse 65 of Psalm 78 and we read:
Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
Like a mighty man who shouts because of wine.
And He beat back His enemies;
He put them to a perpetual reproach.
Eventually the LORD God did hear from heaven. He heard. He remembered His word. And He responded.
Yes, Moses had also told them, from the Lord (and the context is the same):
“But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt – then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26:40-42)
It is way past time that we stopped expecting Jews to behave like traditional Christians. We have been disconnected for too long from the Jewish origins of our faith and it has caused us to miss things that the Jews are doing that God sees. God is not a ‘Christian’. He is the God of Israel and He states in His unchanging Word that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Today, during the afternoon of September 22, silence will settle on the land of Israel and over the 6.1 million Jews in the land. For the children there has been no school. Long before sundown the shops will close, public transport will stop running and traffic will come to a halt, leaving the streets mostly deserted. There will be no state-run radio or television services. Places of entertainment will be shut. The only open public facilities will be synagogues, to which worshippers will stream as dusk descends and Yom HaKippurim begins.
This is the face of a nation in repentance before a gracious and merciful God, Whose ears are wide open to her prayers for forgiveness. He has heard them and He has brought them back to the Land – and has more to bring. Soon, very soon, He is going to pour out upon them, nationally, His spirit of grace and supplication.
Then their restoration will be gloriously complete.
September 19, 2015: The line in the sand
News item: The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum of the World Council of Churches is to hold ‘World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel (sic)’ from September 20 to 26, 2015. During this week – which will see the pope addressing the US Congress (24th) and the UN General Assembly (25th) – “churches around the world shall send a clear signal to policy-makers, community groups, and their own parishes about the urgent need for a peace settlement that ends the illegal occupation and secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples (sic)”.
The hand of God has drawn a line in the sand in front of nations, institutions, the Church. “Whose side”, He is saying, “are you on? Do you stand with Me and My people Israel – or against Me? Choose your side. There is no grey area here. Be clear about your choice.”
Back in December 2009, the Kairos Palestine Document, authored by a group of Palestinian Arab Christians (see here for a useful assessment of the paper) came out of Bethlehem calling on Christians worldwide to oppose the Israeli ‘occupation’.
Among its declarations it rejects any Biblical foundational support for Zionism. In other words, claiming the (unchanging) Word of God to assert Israel’s right to the land (eternally covenanted to her by God) is “a sin against God.”
From the paper itself, endorsed by the World Council of Churches and to this day on their website:
2.3.3 Furthermore, we know that certain theologians in the West try to attach a biblical and theological legitimacy to the infringement of our rights. Thus, the promises, according to their interpretation, have become a menace to our very existence. The “good news” in the Gospel itself has become “a harbinger of death” for us. We call on these theologians to deepen their reflection on the Word of God and to rectify their interpretations so that they might see in the Word of God a source of life for all peoples.
2.5 We also declare that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and humanity because it deprives the Palestinians of their basic human rights, bestowed by God. It distorts the image of God in the Israeli who has become an occupier just as it distorts this image in the Palestinian living under occupation. We declare that any theology, seemingly based on the Bible or on faith or on history, that legitimizes the occupation, is far from Christian teachings, because it calls for violence and holy war in the name of God Almighty, subordinating God to temporary human interests, and distorting the divine image in the human beings living under both political and theological injustice.
I provide this detail because at the time a frequent visitor to my website emailed me in relation to the document. This reader, a non churchgoer, had read the news of its release with instinctive outrage which spilled over into an unexpected prayer of angry weeping – followed by words of penitence – before receiving from the Lord the quiet assurance: “I am lining them up. Watch how I will answer them.”
From time to time I am reminded of this correspondence, which I was given permission to write about, but until today have not.
The trigger? The above mentioned plan of action by the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum, and an everyday sort of article on the Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) website, reporting on PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas’ huff and puff over the actions of Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount:
Abbas, speaking in particularly harsh language, insisted that none of Jerusalem’s holy sites belonged to Israel, reported Al-Arabiya.
“They are all ours and we will not let them desecrate it with their filthy feet,” he declared, speaking during a visit to eastern Jerusalem.
“We will protect Jerusalem and will protect our Christian and Muslim holy sites. We will not leave our homeland. We will remain holding every atom of soil in this homeland,” added Abbas.
Normally, I choose not to write about the rantings of Israel’s enemies, happy to let them stew in their wrath. But in the light of world events swirling about Israel – the deal with Iran, activity at the UN, the stand taken by nations – Abbas’ vow rings home the fact that nations, and institutions, and the Church, are choosing their side with indisputable clarity.
And when God lines them up?
“For behold, in those days and at that time,
When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will also gather all nations,
And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
And I will enter into judgment with them there
On account of My people, My heritage Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations;
They have also divided up My land.
They have cast lots for My people,
Have given a boy as payment for a harlot,
And sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.” (Joel 3:1-3)
“Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured;
And all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity;
Those who plunder you shall become plunder,
And all who prey upon you I will make a prey.
For I will restore health to you
And heal you of your wounds,” says the Lord,
“Because they called you an outcast saying:
‘This is Zion;
No one seeks her.’” (Jeremiah 30:16-17)
“For the day of the Lord upon all the nations is near;
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.
For as you drank on My holy mountain,
So shall all the nations drink continually;
Yes, they shall drink, and swallow,
And they shall be as though they had never been.” (Obadiah 15-16)
Therefore please hear this, you afflicted,
And drunk but not with wine.
Thus says your Lord,
The Lord and your God,
Who pleads the cause of His people:
“See, I have taken out of your hand
The cup of trembling,
The dregs of the cup of My fury;
You shall no longer drink it.
But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you,
Who have said to you,
‘Lie down, that we may walk over you.’
And you have laid your body like the ground,
And as the street, for those who walk over.” (Isaiah 51:21-23)
Related reading: A winepress, and an ark
September 16, 2015: Nothing has really changed
An Australian Christian I saw two weeks ago at a seminar I gave in a Brisbane church turned to me yesterday in an email – in which she was trying to sound brave – and asked, “How do we pray now? The enemy has pulled a swifty…”
He seems to have – and Israel’s foes are without doubt rejoicing, as those will be who want to see Australia follow in the footsteps of other nations, a direction which leads morally and nationally downhill.
To that lady – and to my other Australian friends and readers – let me say that I too was shaken by the speed and brutality of the coup that deposed Tony Abbott. I followed the six-hour drama from Jerusalem on Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year), and could not forestall the dismay when the party room vote was announced, nor the antipathy as Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop made their statements to the press.
I am not an Australian, but from what I have been reading since Monday evening, there are strong feelings running through that country about the invalidity (not to mention immorality) of Turnbull’s succession to the chair – the ‘abuse of due process.’ The argument goes that a majority of Australia’s voters elected Abbott, not Turnbull, who can only claim to represent 54 Australians at the most.
A sense of unease seems to be washing over the land: whither Australia now?
A few days ago, Australia was one of just seven nations that voted with Israel against a General Assembly resolution allowing a non-entity called Palestine to raise its flag at the United Nations as if it were a state. One day earlier I posted a few lines and a photomontage here (scroll down to see) envisaging a short lineup of courageous national leaders that could, if they chose to, stand in moral alliance with Israel.
In the illustration, Stephen Harper of Canada was on Netanyahu’s right, Abbott on his left.
Harper is under the gun, Tony Abbott now has to be deleted from the montage, and it is far from clear that Turnbull could be pencilled in.
As ugly and jarring as it all is, my top concern has been and remains specifically – what now for Australia-Israel relations and, yes, how to pray?
The truth is that Christians who care for Australia really don’t need to be alarmed. In line with what I have recently shared across parts of Australia and New Zealand, and which I am prayerfully planning to return there to drive home once more, the destiny of the ANZAC nations is not in the hands of its politicians or its electorate.
It never has been. Not according to the teaching of the Word of God.
In this sense, nothing has changed. As it was before September 13, 2015, so it is now. Who leads Australia is something the Lord oversees. And the salt of the earth in that land remains the true body of Believers.
Here’s how Australian Christians can move ahead:
– those who have not carried the country and its leadership in prayer can repent for not doing so and commit to praying from now on;
– wield the Sword – a Bible-based statement professing an unshakeable Christian opposition to the Two State Solution based purely on the written promises of God as contained in Scripture could be circulated and signed and then publicly proclaimed;
– fight for truth and justice – a land rights statement authenticating Israel’s right under international law to extend sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Gaza can be signed and presented to the Federal Government of Australia, and a copy of it presented to the Government of Israel;
– Australians of influence so positioned by God can continue their efforts to establish an Israel Allies Caucus in the Federal Parliament creating a forum through which to communicate truth to and lobby the government.
All these things can be done no matter who is in power in Australia.
I believe they should be.
September 14, 2015: There is no freedom to worship
According to this news piece, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday defended Israel’s right to defend itself after the Arab world condemned the Jewish state for protecting itself during an Arab mob attack on the Temple Mount. “Israel will act by any means to maintain the status quo and the law and order on the Temple Mount,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement. “This is the duty and right to take action against lawbreakers to allow freedom of worship in this holy place.”
But there is no freedom to worship up there on Israel’s holiest site, the God of Israel’s holy mountain.
And furthermore, look at how the status quo that Bibi refers to is maintained – at who is thoroughly searched and made to leave if there is any tension. Not criticising, just saying.
This coming year, I want Jews to have worshipping rights on the Temple Mount – their own day/s up there if need be, Muslim-free – I want laws in place to legalise it, I want the government to insist on it and I want the police force to enforce it, under threat of consequence if they don’t.
In fact, I want Jews to be able to visit the cemetery on the Mt of Olives too, without coming under attack, and for the government to expand its police force to crack down on rock throwers and domestic terrorists in Jerusalem and across the country – and to be ruthless about prosecuting the perpetrators.
I want this because I really mean it when I say L’shanah tova – A happy and blessed new year to you and yours, Israel!
WATCH: Israel is a beacon – Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Rosh Hashana message to his people.
September 12, 2015: Bloody flags
History will show that, on September 10, 2015, another step – an important and effective step, not just a ceremonial one – was taken by the international community towards force-birthing a State of Palestine on the historic and legally-owned lands of the Jewish people.
On this date, in the run-up to the 70th Annual Gathering of the United Nations General Assembly, that lopsided but not inaccurately-named (it is virtually united in one accord against Israel) global organ voted overwhelmingly to allow the banners of non-member observer states [sic] to be hoisted among the colourful array of flags of the legitimate nations of the world.
The draft resolution was brought by the Palestinian Arabs (who are a recently manufactured entity with no history of nationhood anywhere, least of all in the land they so brazenly lay claim to) two years after the General Assembly accorded them non-member state status.
Seven Gentile nations should be recognised and honoured for voting against the resolution. They are Australia, Canada, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Tuvalu and the United States.
Among those to be shamed for voting in favour are New Zealand, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, and Ireland.
The voting tally was 119 nations for the resolution, eight (including Israel) against, and 45 abstentions.
This year then, not only will Mahmoud Abbas be warmly welcomed as he stands in the General Assembly Hall to address those who two years ago gave his fiction state factual status; his illusion will be further fleshed out by the ‘national’ flag of his non-state flapping in the Autumn breeze outside.
There’s not much further left to go. They already refer to him, this chairman of the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organisation, as ‘President of Palestine.’
Now if only Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can be pressured into just saying that he accepts the ‘1967 borders’ (another fiction – they are the 1949 ceasefire lines between Israel, Jordan and Eypt) as the de facto borders of this state-in-the-making.
One hundred and thirty-five UN member states already recognise Palestine. Surely it’s only a matter of time?
An apparently side issue – but it’s not really on the side at all, and has serious ramifications – deals with the question of whether the flag of the Vatican will fly alongside the flag of the PLO?
We’ll see soon enough.
In a state of pique after the Arabs submitted their resolution to acquire this right against the Vatican’s advice to the contrary, Rome is saying it might choose not to raise its banner.
Still, it would seem a little like hypocritical grandstanding after the Holy See on June 26 this year officially for the first time signed a treaty with ‘The State of Palestine‘ in a move that angered Israel. The Vatican’s foreign minister at the time said ‘courageous decisions’ were called for to help ensure the realisation of the Two State Solution.
Doubtless signing that treaty was such a ‘courageous’ decision. Raising the pope’s flag will likely be another.
Francis himself is due to address the General Assembly, shortly after his scheduled unprecedented speech to the US Congress on September 24, during which it is anticipated he will express his support for Barack Obama’s deal with Iran.
Perhaps it would be fitting to have the flag of this church institution that, through the centuries, was saturated with the blood of Jews (through the Inquisition, Expulsions, Crusades and even, through the silence of its pope, the Holocaust) raised outside the United Nations to fly alongside the flag of the would-be State of Palestine whose very ‘existence’ has been violently concocted on the collective mind of the international community by an organisation likewise soaked in the blood of Jewish victims of its terror?
Some things cannot be disregarded just because of the passage of time; cannot be swept under the carpet of ‘progress,’ cannot be erased from the collective memory of a nation – of this nation.
Which is why, in response to yet another disgraceful European decision taken this week – viz. to mark Israeli products from the Biblical heartland of Israel as coming from the ‘Occupied Territories’ – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday invoked the Holocaust.
As he pointed out, what is happening in the present day regarding Israeli products happened in the days preceding the genocidal murder of European Jewry, when produce was marked and boycotted because it was manufactured by Jews.
Like US presidential contender Mike Huckabee’s assertion that Barack Obama’s agreement with Iran would facilitate the movement of Israel’s Jews “to the doors of the oven,” Netanyahu’s equation will likely be regarded as ‘sad’ and ‘out of touch with reality.’
It is certainly terribly tragic that the Jews today have every reason to fear their further delegitimisation, dehumanisation and ultimately destruction.
The equation could not be more IN touch.
September 11, 2015: Cutting the P5+1 down to size
Barack Obama should stand where I stood yesterday. The place is not yet open to the public, but as president of the United States he would be very welcome to visit.
In the early afternoon, under the blanket of the worst dust storm to cloak Israel’s capital in modern times (registering 176 times the normal pollution levels), I burrowed together with a group of fellow Israeli tour guides deep under the City of David, passing through a door marked ‘No entry’ and clambering nine metres down beneath the current floor of the Valley Kidron.
There, rearing up from the bedrock, a Canaanite wall climbs 25 meters into the air. Climbs – not climbed. Eighteen years of excavating have uncovered this unmatched colossus. As I put my hands on its cool, lower limestone courses, City of David resident guide Shahar Shilo transported us to a momentous event that took place in that spot nearly 4000 years ago.
Contrary to popular perception, archaeology has revealed that the Canaanite city David would eventually conquer from the Jebusites and establish as his capital, was one of the largest in that pre-Hebraic land.
But it was in the days of Abram, relatively newly arrived in the land promised to him by God, that the King of Ur Shalem (Salem) – as it was then known – exited his city to greet a passing armed force of Hebrews a few hundred strong. Melchizedek – King of Righteousness is described in the Bible as ‘the priest of El Elyon (God Most High)’ – see Genesis 14:18
The happy Hebrews – all servants in the house of Abram – were returning in triumph after routing four northern kings and rescuing prisoners of war they had taken. At the head of mighty armies, these four kings had swept across Canaan, falling on numerous targets and eventually defeating an alliance of five cities that were located in the Salt Sea (Dead Sea) Valley. Just as it is today, the valley was full of sink holes (or asphalt pits) and some of those fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah fell into them. From these cities of the plain the kings – one of whom was named Tidal, King of Gentiles – took spoils and prisoners of war, among them Abram’s nephew Lot.
As mighty as these northern monarchs might have been, Abram attacked and defeated them with just 318 men, rescuing Lot and all the other prisoners of war, and capturing the booty. The King of Sodom, who had survived the attack of the four northern kings – came up to meet Abram in the Valley of the King – which is the Kidron – where we were so privileged to be standing yesterday.
So it is there – in the presence of this other king – that Melchizedek greets and blesses Abram, a meeting that was recounted, in the very spot, to our group 4000 years later. And instead of the traditional hosting fare of a sumptuous meal, the King of Righteousness greets Abram with bread and wine.
God would rename Abram, Abraham, setting the course of his destiny to be the father of a multitude of nations (Genesis 17:5) and giving to him and his descendants after him all the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession (17:8). Later God will emphasise that, while many nations will descend from Abraham’s offspring, Abraham himself will be the father of “a” great and mighty nation – Israel (Genesis 18:18). And the land is covenanted exclusively to this one nation.
So it is. Abraham is the father of the nation of Israel. A nation unlike any other on the face of the earth (2 Samuel 7:23). A nation that God went to redeem for Himself as a nation, to make a name for Himself.
I wonder if today’s world leaders – especially right now the heads of the P5+1, busy playing with fire with Iran and still committed to a negotiated surrender by Israel to the Palestinian Arabs – would be at all moved by being brought to stand down here on the ancient underground floor of the Kidron Valley. I wonder if it is at all possible that they would feel dwarfed down here as we did, brought ‘down to size’ coming face to face with the 4000 year old history of this little nation and its ancient, ancient land – and the incontestable, immutable truth of its continuity – the fact that, since it was given to Abraham as an everlasting possession, it has survived, and it is still here.
4000 years ago Melchizedek blessed Abram in the presence of the King of Sodom. Today, sites like this ancient one, sitting deep and hidden below ground level, are a living testament to the unchanging nature of God. Israel remains blessed, the foundations of her history are there and sure, beneath the ebb and flow of modern day flux. In full view of the kings of the world God shows Israel His favour.
September 9, 2015: Closing the door on jihad
I received a request to respond to an accusation made in a UK church prayer bulletin that Israel is refusing to take in refugees from Syria, and is building a wall to prevent the kind of migrant influx Europe is experiencing.
To answer that charge and to look at it briefly in a wider context:
Israel is well within its rights to close its doors. Knowing its demographic and geographic limitations and the nature of the enemy it faces, it is an eminently reasonable stand to take. Israel has provided medical aid to over 1000 Syrians and has offered to help Syrian Druze.
Israel is not unfeeling.
The planned security fence along its southern armistice-line with Jordan (the above-mentioned church bulletin erroneously said it was along the ceasefire line with Syria) is a practical measure designed to bar entry to a flood of illegal migrants and Islamic jihadis, the latter of whom would, without conscience, use Syria’s refugee numbers in Jordan to infiltrate a section of Israel’s border currently less well defended than others.
Europe would do well to pay attention. While the EU struggles to cope with the influx of asylum seekers and to determine equitable intake quotas for various member states, ISIS is already saying that it is moving thousands of its members into Western countries with the refugees.
But don’t dare take a stand to protect the people you were elected to care for, at least not if you are a mayor in France.
And then there is the way that these ‘refugees’ pick and choose where they will stay. Certain European states’ readiness to be generous is being exploited to the hilt, and the numbers are not small.
The West should insist that the huge Arab states with their enormous wealth set aside their insularity and open their gates to the refugees – who are Arabs. And more pointedly, that they bear the brunt of the enormous tide of human displacement they have helped create with their funding of groups like ISIS. The West, who is expected to pick up the mess, can offer to pour billions of dollars into these states to help with the cost of resettling.
Former Muslim Nonie Darwish wonders why oil rich Arab countries have completely abandoned the Islamic refugees. “It is obvious that Arab and Islamic governments have not prepared or planned for the consequences of Islamic turmoil all over the Middle East. The refugee crisis should have been expected and a disaster was waiting to happen ever since the Arab Spring failed to produce an Islamic State in Egypt and ISIS emerged in Syria. But Islamic countries have ignored the humanitarian crisis resulting from the barbaric behaviour of the Islamic State.”
Breitbart solves the ‘mystery’ in an article headlined, Muslim countries refuse to take a single Syrian refugee: “Five of the wealthiest Muslim countries have taken no Syrian refugees in at all, arguing that doing so would open them up to the risk of terrorism. Although the oil rich countries have handed over aid money, Britain has donated more than Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar combined.”
For a really clear-eyed view of the threat posed by flinging open the doors to fleeing Syrians, read Daniel Greenfield’s The Syrian refugee crisis is not our problem.
Excerpt: “The media howls that the Syrian refugee crisis is our fault. That is a lie. What is happening in Syria is a religious civil war fought over the same ideologies as the ones practiced by the vast majority of the refugees. This is an Islamic war fought to determine which branch of Islam will be supreme. It is not a war that started last week or last year, but 1,400 years ago. … This conflict is in the cultural DNA of Islam. It is not going anywhere. This war is not our fault. It is their fault. There are Christian and non-Muslim minorities who are genuine refugees, but the two Muslim sects whose militias are murdering each other are not victims, they are perpetrators. Just because Sunnis are running from a Shiite militia or Shiites from a Sunni militia right now doesn’t make them victims. … The refugees aren’t fleeing a dictator. They’re fleeing each other while carrying the hateful ideologies that caused this bloodshed with them. We aren’t taking in people fleeing the civil war. We’re taking in their civil war and giving it a good home.”
Israel has wisely decided not to accept those who would be the catalysts and carriers of additional terror and Islamic violence into her tiny land. Judeo-Christian countries need to understand the grave and permanent danger to their own societies if they unwittingly enable the importation of a jihadist doctrine on the back of this great wave of human movement from Islamic nations at war.
They should only allow in duly-processed, persecuted non-Muslims, for whom returning home would mean certain death.
September 7, 2015: Moral Alliance
If we pray for it – it doesn’t have to be a dream
September 6, 2015: An historic opportunity
Many of us have been bullied. We understand what it means to be on the receiving end of the hostility of others. And we understand that to stand with someone being bullied takes high courage, moral fibre, a decision to choose right over wrong, even at personal cost.
Today, everyone hates Benjamin Netanyahu. Global media, the Obama administration, powers within the European Union, left wing rivals at home – they’re baying for his blood. Globally – after failing absolutely to keep him from being voted back in – they are working to rubbish him – writing him off as a fear-monger, a sabre-rattler, an enemy of world peace. Here at home, unscrupulous leftwing ‘leaders’ are sticking it to the recently re-elected prime minister, and closing for the kill. He did too much. He went too far. He didn’t do enough. He damaged vital Israeli-US relationships. He failed to secure Israel.
It’s all a disaster – the outcome of his weeks and months spent lobbying Congress to stand against the Iran deal – and it’s all his fault.
Scorned and spat upon, derided and demonised, weathering blows from world leaders and domestic foes, Bibi stands on his own before us, repeatedly warning that Iran is not being prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons.
But the key is that he stands. And in a few weeks’ time he will stand before the world again in the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Netanyahu isn’t looking for sympathy. Pity won’t help one wit. Friends would.
Israel needs friends. Men and women in positions of power who will place morality, truth and justice above expediency and perceived national interests. Friends who will behave as if they mean it when they mouth the words while looking at Israel: ‘never again.’
Where are these friends now? Where are those leaders who express friendship and have even taken political risks rather than condemn Israel in the past?
Why, at this most critical moment in modern Israel’s history, have even her few allies fallen silent, as if watching and waiting to see which way the wind will blow?
I’m just putting it out there, just asking.
Seventy years ago – just the other day – the world’s Jews were all threatened with annihilation, and six million were slaughtered while the world stood impotently by, or directed its focus elsewhere – enabling the perpetuation of the Holocaust.
Today six million Jews are being threatened with annihilation, while the world plays roulette with their lives – or directs attention elsewhere, providing cover for those preparing to perpetrate another horror.
There is a clean, clear line that has been carried and been expressed before by a handful of world leaders – a line running unbroken through the centuries from Rome’s efforts to erase the Jews as a nation directly to the crematoria of Auschwitz and straight on to a nuclear-enabled Iran.
The Jewish people should never have made it through. They should never have come back from the dead. But they have survived every effort conceived in the mind of evil men to rub them out.
With little help from their friends.
Cry it from the rooftops: surely it is the moral responsibility of nations – at the very least of the Judeo-Christian nations – to prevent the realisation of Iran’s repeatedly-threatened holocaust of Israel no matter how painful the political cost?
I’d love to hear just one of the world leaders who has indicated a recognition of this uninterrupted anti-Semitic practice make a strong statement against the deal with Iran.
Cautionary statements came from a couple of them the day after the deal was reached in Vienna on July 14, but since its unanimous endorsement by the UNSC on July 20 they have been quiet.
Do they really, truly care about the Jewish people?
Or is it really so – as I have long suspected and as so many Jews suspect – that there is nothing more than words to the line that purportedly assures and insists that a genocide of the Jews will never be permitted again?
Can you imagine?
Just imagine if, when Netanyahu stands once again before the world at the General Assembly this month, confronting a sea of upturned, hostile, disparaging or care-less faces – looking out at the bullies and their peers – that quietly, without any fanfare or warning, Stephen Harper of Canada, Tony Abbott of Australia, Milos Zeman of the Czech Republic, Juan Carlos Varela of Panama, Peter Christian of Micronesia, Tommy Remengesau of Palau, Christopher Loeak of the Marshall Islands, Baron Waqa of Nauru and perhaps one or two others would rise from their chairs and come stand alongside the Israeli leader at the podium.
Imagine what a message that would send to the people of Israel. What a blow that would be to Obama.
More than Israel, whose God has her back, (He never calls Himself the God of the United States or of Great Britain – only the God of Israel) the world desperately needs moral leadership like this.
Can someone plant this idea in the minds of these men? All it needs is for one to call the others, to quietly agree to take this unequivocal stand against evil, this stand for truth and righteousness and justice for the Jewish people in a world that has shown this nation painfully little justice.
Let’s pray for this.
And as international hostility mounts against Israel, let’s pray men like these into government, or that these men are able to remain in office after the coming round of general elections in countries worldwide.
If we pray for it – it doesn’t have to be a dream