THE POSSIBLE ANSWERS COME FIRST:
1. The CoronaVirus
2. The demonstrations and rioting
3. The developing division in the Democratic Party between the traditional Democrats and Socialist-Progressives.
THE QUESTION: WHAT IS THE RECENT CAUSE OF ANXIETY AMONG AMERICAN JEWISH LEADERS?
ANSWER 3 IS CORRECT!
God is calling His people from the earth’s farthest corners to return to their land.
But the American Jews are not, for the most part, responding. About fifteen to twenty-thousand per decade are moving to Israel.
And now, anxiety is besetting them.
Their grandparents and forebears chose America, not Israel, as their new and glorious homeland.
Then these Jews from Europe and Russia chose the Democratic Party as their political home. During the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, no other group was more supportive of his presidency than were the Jewish people in America. And, as a whole, they’ve never moved.
So….fine. They made that political choice. But, it is only now….of late….that anxiety has set into Jewish democrats.
In a conversation with Rabbi Mark Golub in a YouTube broadcast, Hank Sheinkopf, Democratic Political Consultant from New York City, just last week, aired his anxiety. What’s happening? The democrats are heading leftward to radical positions and pushing the traditional democrats out of the political arena.
In New York City, Sheinkopf’s man, Eliot Engel, who represented his congressional district in the Bronx and Westchester, was democrat and traditional and had served for sixteen terms in the House of Representatives. He had been chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Now the votes are in, except for mail-ins. It’s clear--Eliot Engel’s opponent is a shoe-in.
His replacement is farther left. It’s a indication of what’s happening. Hank Sheinkopf says: “There is a takeover of the Democratic Party.”
The Jews of New York could depend on their man, Mr. Engel; but now he’s on his way out. Engel is a Jew-- thoroughly vetted and honored by the Jewish community in New York…supported by its big money. In the primary, he has been voted out. His replacement is an African-American school principal.
Gone are the times when New York’s Jews could depend on their Democratic Party to further their liberal programs and keep a watchful eye on the State of Israel…oh, and watch over all the Jews of New York City. And furthermore, Engle has been Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives. That is important because he has been a watchman in Congress on behalf of the State of Israel! But now he is on his way out.
The winner looks to be Jamaal Bowman, a Middle School Principal. The district is partly Hispanic and black as well as Jewish. His campaign was like that of Occasio-Cortez’.
The new leftward faction is shoving the traditional Jewish democrats OUT….and these New York Jews are nervous. Why? Because they are no longer in control. Another faction is in there pushing and yelling and taking over one big traditional base of the democrats. But more than that: there is anti-Semitism in this new faction!
We know of the quartet in the House of Representatives: Alexandria Occasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashiha Tlaib. They do not appreciate Israel, and they seem to care nothing about its welfare and survival.
Eliot Engle did. He had power, and he used it on Israel’s behalf.
The Jews, if they had started sooner, could have had a larger Jewish population and thus more clout; but they didn’t have enough babies! Then, when their babies grew to adulthood, they married outside the Jewish race. It’s been that way on both coasts—east and west. On the East Coast, so Mr. Sheinkopf said, 70 per cent of Jews marry Gentiles, and on the West Coast, 80 per cent on the East Coast.
* * * * * * * * * *
Only about 2400 Jews emigrated from America to Israel in 2018. But I believe that is soon going to change. We’ll see.
Nonetheless, it looks very much like American Jews are losing their influence here—at least politically—in the United States. Oh, it may take a while longer before their numbers go down precipitously and we view the ramifications of this.
But I believe that God, the Lord of nations and the Leader of His Chosen People, is wanting those people to go back home. And I think they will become more uncomfortable here, because anti-Semitism is getting worse and nowhere more so than on the university campuses. I intend to write of that menacing situation for young Jews very soon.
Irreligious though many of them are and sinful though they may be, still they are a witness through the Lord’s covenant with them and their survival in human history.
“They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5, ESV)
Great Archeological Finds: Coins, Seals, Fragments and Steles Unearthed in Israel
Archeological finds from Palestine, Mesopotamia and other countries in the Lavant have been made for a couple of centuries or more. But of late they have been coming thick and fast, one reason being that Israel now controls its own land—its own ground.
Let’s focus on the little stuff, like coins, seals and fragments of which there are tens of thousands being collected and preserved. They shed a lot of light on the bureaucracy and governments of ancient Israel, the nations surrounding it and the empires controlling it.
The sealings—bullae—from which the Hebrew word for stand (“bul”) is derived are small pieces of clay which in ancient times served a seals for letters and official documents. A letter which arrived with its seal broken was a sign that the letter had been opened.
These seals bear the names of people involved in transactions, notarizations, agreements and burial places. The senders used moist clay that would be imprinted with a seal.
Although the letters in Palestine themselves did not survive the fires of destruction from the Roman armies in 70 A. D., the seals that were made of clay did survive, thus attesting to the existence of the letters, the senders and receivers. Also, seals might be made to be pendants.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Just recently, Israel News Digest reported that “several dozen seals and seal impressions from the First Temple period (Solomon’s Temple which lasted until the time of Jeremiah and the Babylonian) have been found….where?...right in their capita of Jerusalem.
Many influential archeologists have insisted that Jerusalem in biblical times was simply a small town—perhaps nothing more than a chieftain’s center, not a buzzing capital of an Israelite kingdom. And….nowhere and at no time was there to be found the name of a “King David.” Stories about him were possibly just folktales.
So they said.
But there is an archeologist, heading up the work in “The City of David” in that south part of Jerusalem named Dr. Eilat Mazar, a woman, of the Hebrew Institute of Archeology. Her work has been extraordinarily productive. One important find is a fragment which appears to be part of a larger tablet.
SEAL. In that ancient Royal Quarter where Dr. Mazar works, there has been much digging activity where structures built by King Solomon are preserved. Seal impressions were found in the debris on jar handles and on a piece of clay. Pieces of clay called “bullae” were found with names on them—stamped on soft clay. One of them had the name of King Hezekiah on it, and close by, the name of Isaiah! The name for “prophet” is likely there too, except for one missing letter caused by damage. So, the probability is that the names of both Hezekiah and Isaiah are close together there in that damaged room. So meaningful is it given the fact that, according to scripture, there was no one closer to King Hezekiah than the prophet Isaiah, both names in English ending with “iah” signifying “the Lord.”
This amazing discovery reinforces interest in the crucial incident when the Assyrians came and threatened Jerusalem and the king at the very gates. Hezekiah appealed to Isaiah, Isaiah prayed, and the Lord delivered His people.
Hezekiah is described in II Kings 18:5 as the greatest: “He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah.” (ESV) He trusted in the Lord, and his closest confidant was Isaiah the prophet. Thank God for this archeological find as a remembrance of that great victory over the Assyrian host.
(This information taken from Biblical Archeology Review, March-June, 2018.)
ANOTHER SEAL. In the Wall Street Journal in October of 2015, there was the story of a 10-year-old Russian boy who made an “extraordinary discovery in Jerusalem while working as a volunteer in the Temple Mount Sifting Project. FOUND: a 3,000-year-old seal of engraved limestone about the size of a thimble, buried in hundreds of tons of earth and rock. It is dated from the time of King David and confirms the Jewish presence there more than a thousand years before the Muslim Dome of the Rock was constructed.
It had been illegally excavated from below the Temple Mount in the late 1990’s by the Muslim Waqf who has been given authority by the Israelis. But that illegal excavation turned to be a blessing for Israel. It dates from the era of David’s conquest of Jerusalem and the building of the first temple by Solomon. The Muslims, of course, contend that there is no historic Jewish connection with the Temple Mount. But there it was—a three-millennial old artifact that refutes that lie of Muslim officials.
STELE FRAGMENT IN THE NORTH
At Tel Dan (“Tel” is a mound where there is digging by archeologists)….at the foot of Mount Hermon a team of archeologists found a fantastic inscription from the 9th century B. C. that refers both to the “House of David” and to the “King of Israel” This is the first time that the very name of David has been discovered in any ancient inscription outside the Bible. The inscription refers both to the “House of David” and to the “King of Israel.” Therefore, it has to refer to THE David of the Bible. The “House of David” refers to the dynasty of the great King David. So awesome!
So now there is a seal with the name of David on it, and the evidence from all these seals lends credence to the idea of a major administrative capital of the Judean kingdom--JERUSALEM!
In my daily devotional readings, I always include a chapter from the Old Testament prophets. Yesterday, I began with chapter one of Isaiah; and I wondered: Are there any…ANY modern American or European rabbis who in front of their congregations would lecture or preach from such biblical material as this-- read it, and acknowledge that this material FITS modern Judaism and preach a sermon that convicts his congregation? Knowing what I know, I don’t think so.
ISAIAH CHAPTER 1
---“Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity.” (1-4)
--- “Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! (1:10)
--- “Bring no more vain offerings…I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly… They have become a burden to me…” (1:13-14)
--- “Your appointed feasts my soul hates.” (1:14)
--- “How the faithful city has become a whore.” (1:21)
This is a chosen nation, but now they are characterized by God as a “sinful nation.”
The very feasts that God instructed them to keep have turned into a burden for Yahweh (the Lord).
* * * * * * * * * * * *
For the past three generations or so, the liberal American and European Jewish establishment has disregarded God. They left their previous life in the shtetl (Jewish villages) from the eastern borders of Germany to the deep regions of Russia. And then….
Well, way back in June, 1953, The Jewish Spectator stated: “There is little faith in God in the American Jewish community.” (Arthur Kac: The Rebirth of the State of Israel)
Now, I hesitate to say it, but the liberal Jews are contributing to the decline of the West—America and Europe. And the way they do it? Some examples:
--They are sacrilegious; and it’s easy to see it, because they have no respect for the name of God which they are taught to honor. (In fact, the traditional Jews are taught to say “THE NAME” (Hashem) instead of saying “God” to make sure they do not dishonor His name.) They dishonor Him further by not giving thanks to Him. They remain as ignorant as children in things pertaining to the scriptures—the revelation of God to man. And so…. on we could go with this criticism.
-- They join with other “liberals” to promote diversity, tolerance and multi-culturalism without considering core values from the Torah-- their previous source of values.
-- They contribute to societies’ permissive stances on sexual sins—fornication, adultery and homosexuality.
-- They join with secular liberalism to champion abortion rights and gay marriage,
ignoring basic biblical ethics in which their ancestors believed and practiced.
-- In living this way, many are self-satisfied and arrogant.
ISAIAH: “For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty.” (2:12)
* * * * * * * * * *
Mark Golub is one of my favorite YouTube conversationalists. He is a liberal Jewish rabbi. To him, defining a Jew has nothing to do with faith or God. To be Jewish is to be a family. And the one pre-occupation of this family is….get this: “to be a beautiful person.” That’s it in a nutshell!
He says: “The Jewish Tradition does not begin with God.” Also: “The Jewish tradition is all about people.”
He further says: “The Jewish Tradition cares little about what a person believes.”
As for salvation from sin—delete “sin” and use this definition of “salvation”—“achievement of an integrated personality.”
This, he says, is classical Judaism. The rabbis taught this 2,000 years ago. Actually, from the 3rd century before Christ to the 6th century after Christ, classical Judaism evolved.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
So, does the beginning of the prophecy of Isaiah apply to 20th century Western Jews? It certainly does. Because it is still the same God who calls the Jewish people out of their stubborn rebellion.
The problem of all problems concerning the American Jewish community is that no one seeks after God. They may say that they “have a faith,” and they may “have a synagogue and a rabbi,” or “they are spiritual.” But that doesn’t count for anything, because they are blind.
Who can blame them? Who is their judge? We cannot. However, we can, with open eyes, see what is taking place. Only the Lord can redeem. Now, says Paul, “apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed and is attested by the law and the prophets” (Romans 3:21)-- apart from the Torah, the synagogue, the Talmud and its studious rabbinical schools, the Messiah fulfills all the law. He outshines all efforts to save ourselves and the world around us.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
But now, Isaiah quickly lifts our eyes from spiritual sickness to a vision of the future in the first part of Chapter Two—just one poem five verses long—as a ray of sunshine gladdens us in a stormy, cloudy day as if to indicate that iniquity and arrogance will not forever prevail. The Lord is at work. He has a day that is coming.
It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many people shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths….
O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
--Isaiah 2:1-3, 5 (ESV)
A basic problem among Jewry: mixing—assimilation.
A basic principle of Judaism--separation—one to which the Old Testament and orthodox rabbis return obsessively.
That is very different from American society: we celebrate e pluribus unum--from the many one. Most Americans believe that mixing is good, though we have white nationalists among us. But we refer now to the Jews.
In the story of the Tower of Babel, everyone got together. Easy, wasn’t it? Why? Because everyone spoke the same language. Did the Lord God approve? No indeed. He fixed them….and He did it by causing them to speak many different languages. He wanted distinct groups. There you have a divine prohibition on being One People, especially when the purpose was to make themselves like gods. So, the people scattered and necessarily broke into groups. Thus, the modern movement of One Worldism is one of Godlessness.
After that separation, God called Abraham to move out of Chaldea and led him to Canaan, promising him that a new, separate, distinct ethnic group would emerge from his loins. And Isaac was born, then Jacob/Israel.
Israel was to remain apart from the nations. When they took on the life style of other nations, it displeased the Lord. They were intended to STAY APART.
Remember how King Balak of Moab hired Balaam the prophet to place a curse on Israel as Israel was approaching Canaan. And God said, “Oh no you don’t.” So Balaam didn’t. And as the king and the prophet together looked down from a mountain, they viewed the beautiful and orderly camp of Israel below. And the prophet Balaam said:
“How can I curse whom God has not cursed?....Behold, a people dwelling alone, and not counting itself among the nations.”
It was obvious to what Balaam had learned about Israel—they lived apart. And that very incident is often referred to by Jewish scholars and rabbis, and for all I know, some observant, faithful Jews. They are aware of this. They are not to MIX. They are separate.
David Gerlertner says: “The rabbis see the dangers clearly; they see chaos in the inevitable rising tide. They have always seen the danger that Judaism will vanish, as kosher [now]mixes with treif (non-kosher food), holidays [mix] with normal days, Sabbath [mixes] with the rest of the week, as they marry [mix with] Gentiles, do as Gentiles do, and sink back, with a well-earned sigh of relief into the muddy ocean of mankind….”
It can be likened to the physical process of entropy – a gradual decline into disorder. The universe runs down, mixing the elements together. In human society, a people disperses—mixes with other peoples—and gets lost like a little mound of earth into the whole mix of material, earthy things…losing distinctions.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Sorry to say: even in Israel, the highest priority for liberal Jews there is that their new state will be democratic. That means that if the Palestinians would outnumber the Jews, it would be wrong and impossible to have a Jewish state democracy—the highest priority in Israel for liberal Israelis and their liberal counterparts in America and Europe.
But most Israelis believe that Israel should be a Jewish state. In 2013 the Israeli Knesset passed a bill which stated that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. The Jewish State” is mentioned five times. But note this: the bill was highly controversial, says Daniel Gordis, the author! Controversial? Yes, even among many Jews. Why? Because it singles out the Jews instead of being like America. Because it makes constitutional the second-class status of Arab citizens.
But as Daniel Gordis wrote: “The United States was created to welcome to its shores people from around the globe, whatever their backgrounds. Israel was created to foster the recovery and renewed flourishing of the Jewish people.” (We Stand Divided, p. 169)
QUESTION: What helps keep the Jewish principle of separation?
ANSWER: The Jewish people have retained their identity all these past millenniums first, because of rabbinical training. This is lacking in America. But secondly, the principle of separation has been greatly assisted by the persecution of Jews. Conversely, where the Jewish people are fully accepted, as in America, there you have the gradual loss of Jewish identity.
Check the statistics: In America, the number of liberal Jews, which is most of them here, is decreasing, causing a sense of alarm among the larger Jewish denominations—Reform and Conservative. Many American Jews simply want to be known as “Jewish”. Don’t call them “Jews”—just “Jewish.” Just another of all the ethnic groups in our society. American Jews want to mix, to assimilate… without a lot of concern for their identity as a Jew (Hebrew), without any interest in the Hebrew language, or with the rich traditions of their ancestors, or with the Jewish witness in the world….and certainly not any interest in the coming Messiah.
Secondly, there would be much more mixing of the Jewish people with Palestinians if they, the Palestinians, were not a fiercely antagonistic people. This antagonism insures against assimilation and the loss of Jewish identity. My opinion: the Lord God is behind this.
And so, the State of Israel stands as separate from other nations of the world, because it is the will of the Lord of Nations that this prevails.
What do you think?
* * * * * * * * * * * *
“You are a people holy unto the Lord your God,
And the Lord has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession,
our of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
-- Deuteronomy 14:1-2 (ESV)
QUESTION: Did you know that among the Jewish people there are different ethnicities?
ANSWER: Yes, Jews from different parts of the world have developed distinct cultures and customs, with different languages and skin color.
1. Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe are known as “Ashkenazim”. The Jews of America are mostly of this group that has made the Yiddish language, matza balls and black hats familiar to us. Ashkenazy Jews were the first to return to Palestine and whose leaders are well-known, such as Theodore Herzl and David Ben-Gurion.
2. Jews from Spain are known as “Sephardim”. Then when they were expelled from Spain and Portugal in the 15th century, they fled to other parts of the world.
3. Jews from North Africa and the Middle East (even India) are called Mizrahim. They hail from such countries as Libya, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Morocco. Their Jewish communities are probably the very oldest, dating back to the Babylonian exile in Jeremiah’s time.
The Mizrahim are the ones who have our attention here. Without a European education their way of life was not as refined. They spoke Arabic, Persian, Kurdish and other languages. Most lived under Muslim rule since the Islamic takeover in the 7th century A. D., some in relative peace, but many living as 2nd or 3rd class citizens.
The Mizrahi Jews Expelled
In the 20th century these Jews, though they were thoroughly assimilated into their societies, experienced an increase in harassment especially when the Jewish nation was being formed in Palestine. Their adopted nations in which they had lived so long, became furious that Palestine would be opened to the Jews of the world.
And few Americans and Europeans heard about their plight.
The great fires of intended annihilation of the Jews was transpiring in Europe, making those Jews who were against Zionism--against the return to their homeland--change their minds.
Arab leaders conspired with the Nazis to annihilate the Mizrahi Jews. After the United Nations voted to recognize Israel as a nation in 1947, many Mizrahim (plural) were massacred in government-sponsored rioting. Yet, some of these governments made it a crime for the Jews to leave! Many who tried to escape were hunted down and tortured in prisons.
Those who decided to leave, or were forced to leave, their adopted countries sacrificed all they had, knowing that the emigration officials would take all their possessions and money. So they left as paupers—850,000 of them—and fled, some to America, but most to Israel.
For the new State of Israel, this created problems. The Jewish Agency which was in charge of immigration balked at taking in so many at one time. I get the feeling that they hadn’t considered beforetime the possibility of all these Mizrahi brothers and sisters moving in to their native land.
But, someone WAS thinking of them. The Lord who called Israel into existence was calling the Mizrahis as well as the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim. Yes, the Mizrahis were a lower-class people, but…they were loved by the God Who had chosen His people.
God was calling as the nations were expelling. And these precious Mizrahim were chosen to bring THEIR own special style and abilities to mix with the rest of the Jews.
But the Mizrahi are from Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia—many from big cities like Bagdad, Aleppo and Casablanca. They are good storytellers and have a special kind of music to share. They are people of color, literally and figuratively.
Israel’s story is that she welcomes all Jews from the ends of the earth. But at certain times after her independence, she was a poor nation and therefore could not admit all the Jews wanting to immigrate.
Then, as Wikipedia reports, Mizrahi immigrants and refugees were placed in rudimentary and hastily-erected tent cities, often in development towns on the peripheries of Israel. Many had to live in cooperative farming villages even if they knew nothing of farming. They brought with them their more lowly culture and customs and spoke Arabic.
QUESTION: Is there “racial discrimination” in the State of Israel today?
ANSWER: For decades there has been segregation and some discrimination—yes, against the Mizrahi. That’s not a well-kept secret. But things are changing for the good—changing through acceptance, intermarriage and sharing the workplace.
Yes, in Israel, there have been difficulties in accepting this lower class of Jewishness.
But it is happening.
God has called them, though they are different, one ethnic type from the other—the Ashkenazi, Sephardim and the Mizrahi. He has called all His chosen people from 100 nations including some tiny islands of the seas—called them home.
But you, Israel my servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend,
You whom I took from the ends of the earth
And called from its farthest corners,
saying to you: ‘You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off…’
-- Isaiah 41:8-10 (ESV)
Maybe I’ve written this before, but I’ll write it again: for 53 years I’ve been waiting to see when Israel will move in to Judea and Samaria and claim sovereignty over this so-called “West Bank.”
President Trump’s new plan calls for applying Israeli law and administration to 30 per cent of Judea and Samaria. Not all of it; just 30 per cent. But this is big. This 30 per cent includes all the Jewish “settlements” and the Jordan valley.
What would this mean for that 30 per cent? Will the Palestinians living in this 30 per cent area have to move? No indeed. They will stay put in their present residence. And….it will make their lives easier and better right where they now reside.
QUESTION: What will change then?
ANSWER: The 30 per cent area will no longer be under the military administration of the Israeli Defense Force. That 30 per cent will be administered under this plan by civilian authority, just like the rest of Israel. It is important to note that the civilian legal code is much better to live under than the military. There will be police, not soldiers. There will be more rights, because Israel’s civilian code is liberal (not tight). The civil rights of the Palestinians living there will be expanded.
The Palestinians should like it.
QUESTION: What good is it for Israel? ANSWER: The area will no longer be part of the “disputed territory” as the press and others call the West Bank—Judea and Samaria. It will officially be Israel’s. It will improve Israel’s security, and for those who look ahead further, it could and should be one step towards the whole of Judea and Samaria being Israel’s.
THE TIMING FOR THIS CHANGE
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked at it and declared to his Likud Party on May 25: “We have an opportunity that hasn’t existed since 1948 to apply sovereignty in a wise way and as a diplomatic step in Judea and Samaria, and we will not let this opportunity pass…We have a target date in July to apply sovereignty and we will not change it.”
And at the January unveiling of this plan, President Trump said this: We will form a joint committee with Israel to convert the conceptual map into a more detailed and calibrating rendering, so that recognition can be immediately achieved.”
That sounds like quick and decisive action.
But wait. The Trump Plan does not specify quick and unilateral action
And now, Prime Minister Netanyahu says that he is committed to negotiating with the Palestinians on this U. S. proposal.
Really? Do the Israelis really have to enter into talks again with the recalcitrant Palestinians? Oh, mercy! How can you promise to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank in July or anytime soon if you have to negotiate with the Palestinians?
The plan itself says that it was designed specifically “for the benefit of Palestinians, Israelis and the region as a whole” as a basis for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiation on a “realistic two-state solution.” Yes, from what I have read, this carefully compiled Trump plan says nothing about immediate and unilateral Israeli action. Its wording is this: it is explicitly designed “for the benefit of Palestinians, Israelis and the region as a whole” as a recommended basis for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiation on a “realistic two-state solution.”
Oh, no! We are going from the quick and simple to the snail’s pace of complicated diplomacy.
It is obvious that some people in the Trump Administration would like this plan to be the starting point in another “Peace Process” of which we have had plenty already. They’re excited about the possibility of being part of the biggest breakthrough in international relations in recent history. This will mean cowtowing to the Palestinian Liberation Organization to make a European-pleasing, liberal-pleasing, American Jew-pleasing effort.
The endings of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks has always been disillusionment.
Here are some of the ways the peace efforts have been frustrated from 1936 until the present:
1. They have never brought any plans to the table but have always reacted to plans brought by the U. S. or the Israelis. This shows their lack of seriousness.
2. Every plan that has been brought to them they have rejected. Those individual parts of the Oslo Accords which they did accept were nullified by their own failure to adhere to its specifications.
3. Their rejection of history. The Muslims reject biblical history. For instance, of Abraham’s sons, they insist that Ishmael was the son of promise, not Isaac. Another example: the Temple of Solomon never existed, a contention Arafat used in the Oslo talks, infuriating President Bill Clinton. With such a closed, Islamic view of history they discredit Israel’s history and make unfounded and idiotic assertions.
4. Their unending antagonism. Example: They fail to clean up their educational curricula in which Palestinians children are taught that Jews are descendants of apes and pigs; and they continually glorify their suicide-bombers by, for example, naming streets after them.
So, yes, I say it is futile to entertain hopes on the basis of discussions with the Palestinians. In fact, they have already refused to participate in these anticipated negotiations.
So….what sense does it make to bow to the enemy, seeking their approval, when their disapproval is almost guaranteed?
Who is in charge here, and who is saying that the Palestinian position is of importance at all?
Whose voice is the most important?
May President Trump, his advisors and those who pray with him be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit of God as these issues are considered.
Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in him.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
And his righteousness endures forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
-- Psalms 111:2-3, 6 (ESV)
As a whole, the Jewish people have emphatically rejected Jesus. One author—Jewish himself, and not Messianic—puts this rejection so very clearly: his name—Michael Medved, film critic and political commentator. He ascribes this attitude to American Jews, but it applies to all of world-wide Jewry:
The chief distinguishing characteristic of most American Jews is not what they do believe, but what they do not believe. They do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Period. End of sentence, end of story. Tragically, for all too many members of today’s Jewish community, this rejection marks the sum total of their theological commitment…. (Himmelfarb: “What Do American Jews Believe? A Symposium. Commentary, 8/1996, 68-69)
Thus, their chief theological commitment is a negative: “I do not believe in…”
THE QUESTION: Will that ever change, and if so, how and when?
The answer to that question is found in the Prophecy of Zechariah, chapter 12.
In their homeland, as a people gathered from the ends of the earth, they will experience their redemption.
The first part of this prophetic vision involves the nations of the earth uniting against Israel. In that battle, the weak in Israel will be made strong, and the whole House of Israel will be made Godlike in their strength. The Lord says: “On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples.” Victory, glorious victory will ensue!
At that point the Chosen People (Jews) will experience a great spiritual rebirth. On that great day, the appearance of an unnamed person will throw the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem into an outpouring of grief.
“And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10 ESV)
Their hearts are changed. They are no longer “stiff-necked,” as they are called in the Bible. They are no longer “sabras” as those who are born in Israel call themselves; instead, they will have hearts of graciousness which will call forth pleas for mercy. Their hearts of stone will be morphed into hearts of flesh.
Their vision too will have been changed, because now they “look upon the one whom they have pierced.” And the word for “look” connotes a fixed look, a gaze, an intense look. His appearance is there for all to see and contemplate. They who have rejected Him are confronted with His image.
The speaker here is God the Lord designated by the use of the first person singular. And so the statement is of a divine personage being “pierced.” It is of the Lord’s Messiah who in human flesh was pierced on the cross—a phenomenon of which Zechariah the prophet was moved to write down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
As I say in my book, Israel the Chosen, this experience of all Israel is reminiscent of Saul of Tarsus who was stopped dead in his tracks on the road to Damascus. As Saul was, so this people is transfixed. In this moment, they see the one they pierced. “When they look on me.” (In Saul’s experience, he heard Jesus say to him, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” Acts 9:5)
Then it is said: “They shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child.” And it elaborates as to this national day of mourning: “The land shall mourn, each family by itself.” Grieving and repenting with a full awareness that their Savior/Messiah is their own—a Jew born in one of their families. Can you imagine such a scene?
Their pride will dissipate as they are stunned and shaken to the depths, gazing upon the one they rejected.
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In the 1860’s through the next decades, Charles H. Spurgeon, pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, preached this message to his congregation. On one occasion, he said:
Not long shall it be ere they [the Jews] shall come—shall come from distant lands, wher’ere they rest or roam, and she [Israel] who has been the off-scouring of all things, whose name has been a proverb and a bye-word, shall become a glory of all lands. Dejected Zion shall raise her head, shaking herself from dust and darkness and the dead.
On another occasion, he, Mr. Spurgeon, said this:
We cannot help looking for the restoration of the scattered Israelites to the land….We also look for the time when they shall believe in the Messiah whom they have rejected, and shall rejoice in Jesus of Nazareth, whom today they despise.
The Old Testament (the Tenakh) is the history of how a people responded to the Word of the Lord.
And today….How are the Israeli Jews responding to The Word of the Lord?
ANSWER: From Arthur W. Kac in his book The Rebirth of the State of Israel: “Large masses of the Jewish people—we are informed—are strongly indifferent to all things of a Jewish religious nature….They are ignorant of the God of Judaism. They have no knowledge of the Biblical or Rabbinic teachings with regard to the basic things of human life.”
Kac was a Messianic Jew who wrote this book in 1958. Just about everything in his book still exists.
The Lord’s Complaints
The Lord had established His covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai. He was to be their God Who redeemed, instructed and protected them; and they were to love Him and keep His commandments. That was the covenant….like a marriage.
You’d never know that the State of Israel was in covenant with their God today. There seems to be very little communication between the two.
Over and over again in the Tenakh, the Lord complains that Israel is aloof—will not listen—will not see what is obvious. That's not good for marriage or a covenant with the Lord. Is that true today? Sorry to say that it is. Otherwise, you would see and hear of Jews eagerly studying scripture—not the Talmud, the scripture. The Talmud will not do, for it is the word of MEN.
Jewish and Israeli students are not being given courses in the scriptures.
Hear the Lord, as He complains:
“Listen, you that are deaf; and you that are blind, look up and see!
Who is blind, but my servant? [Israel] Or deaf like my messenger?...”
He sees many things, but does not observe them;
His ears are open, but he does not hear.” (Isaiah 42:18-20)
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Who is calling the new nation of Israel to repentance? I don’t hear that call. Can you? Let’s name some people who could issue such a call: rabbis? What about leaders of Christian Zionism....instead of merely celebrating Israel, challenging her?
THE LORD through Ezekiel the prophet: “I scattered them among the nations…wherever they came, they profaned my holy name.” (Ezekiel 36:19) That’s the issue in a nutshell.
Check out those prophetic portions, and you will see that when the Lord says He is going to bring His people back to their land, He will also reprove and cleanse them. And that’s going to be some revolution!
“I will make an end of all the nations among which I scattered you, but of you I will not make an end. I will chastise you in just measure…because your guilt is great.” (Jeremiah 30:11)
The Marriage Covenant Ignored.
When I was in Israel ten years ago, one of our taxi drivers said that he and his wife were getting a divorce and that divorce was common in Israel. I took that to mean that adultery was common. I believe that Jerusalem is an exception to this, since they are more observant religiously.
In Israel generally we are looking at an evil and adulterous generation, just as Jesus said about the situation of His time. The approach to immorality is casual. In the army, casual sex. In the reserves in which all men serve, it’s a time for fun. It’s called the “warrior-womanizer” culture.
Corruption in politics? There is some, perhaps much, but there is also an abundance of slander and malice in the public sphere so that you can’t know which is worse, the corruption or the mendacity (a tendency to lie).
“They sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say, but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths, they act; their heart is set on their gain.” (Ezekiel 33:31)
REALITY IN AMERICA: The American Jews are talented and have produced high entertainment in America. But much of that entertainment has become a mirror of their own godlessness, immorality and materialism.
Isn’t it time for Christian Zionists who love Israel so much to speak the truth about the “adulterous generation” in Israel?
THE LORD (in Isaiah): “Whom did you dread and fear so that you lied, and did not remember me or give me a thought?” (57:11)
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The most serious sin of Israel today is this: They continue to ignore the voice of the Lord--their covenant partner. The day of reckoning is coming.
IN THE LAST DAYS: “Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves….Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.” (Ezekiel 36:31-32)
Yes, they are a democratic nation;
Yes, they have done good to the neighbors that have warred against them;
Yes, they are innovative and industrious;
Yes, they have a mission to “heal the world”….
Yes, some are taking on a spirituality as they live in the Land.
And yes, they are God’s Chosen People…
But…. at this point in their religious history, they mostly ignore the Word of the Lord and therefore most of them are living world-centered lives. They have no ear for the Word of the Lord….and yet….
They WILL encounter the Lord. And that is the His promise.
“I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses….A new heart I will give you and a new spirit I will put within you, and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh….”
Have you ever heard of Maimonides (1135-1204), a truly great Jewish philosopher?— seen as one of the greatest Jewish scholars of all time? He presented “Thirteen Principles of Faith,” consisting of “I Believe” statements.
The 12th was this: “I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he may delay, nevertheless I anticipate every day that he will come.”
SCRIPTURE ON THE MESSIAH
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet…..[the Lord said]: I will raise up a prophet like you from among their own people. I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I shall command.” Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 (NRSV)
BELIEF IN THE MESSIAH IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF ZIONISM
In our secular age, this is not appreciated or even recognized.
The term “Zionism” is not understood by many people, and the Messianic element in Zionism is known hardly at all. But historically, the expectation of Messiah is intricately bound to historic Zionist thinking. That is to say, when the Jewish communities would think about moving to Palestine, they were doing it in hopes that they would live and have their being there when the Messiah came in all his glory.
There have been “aliyot” (waves of immigration) to Israel—not large, but significant—from 1240 A. D. to 1840, late medieval and early modern eras. The driving force behind these aliyot (plural) was a “messianic ferment” that cropped up in Jewish communities every so often. There were attempts to predict when the messianic era would begin and the date the Messiah would appear. Charismatic leaders would organize groups of their members to go live in Palestine in order to hasten the time of “Redemption.”
It has been shown that in every generation there were a great many Jews, including communal and spiritual leaders, who were not content with passively hoping for divine intervention in the form of Messiah’s coming, but who instead took action aimed at bringing it about. They were convinced that a mass movement of Jewish immigration to Palestine would bring about his appearance and the Day of Redemption. Moving to Palestine would be the trigger.
Irving Howe (1920-1993) noted literary critic and son of Jewish immigrants, “saw messianism as the most urgent force in Jewish tradition, the force that could send a quiescent people into moments of transport and even collective frenzy.” (Daniel S. Ariel)
Even now in Israel itself, religious ultra-Orthodox folks are prepared to establish the Third Temple on the Temple Mount in anticipation of the Messiah’s imminent arrival. Preparation is being made by “weavers, smiths, and other artisans who have crafted the vestments, utensils, and paraphernalia necessary to conduct the priestly sacrifices in the rebuilt Temple.”
The Yearning for the Messiah Lessening
QUESTION: But…excuse me….Have you ever seen or heard of Jewish people living around you who have become excited about Messiah’s coming. I haven’t. Not until my wife and I went to the city of Jerusalem and asked people there: “Do you believe in the Messiah and that he will come? NOTE THIS: Many of our Jerusalem taxi drivers, waiters, servers and retailers were definite in their affirmative responses: “Yes, I do believe in the coming Messiah.” Some expressed a yearning to see him. And that was truly gratifying, especially coming from young people—2nd and 3rd generation Israelis.
Yes, many Jews DID in centuries past move to Palestine, or want to go there, out of a yearning for the Messiah’s coming….for the Day of Redemption. Yes…but that was then.
QUESTION: In modern times, in the mid-20th century and on, why were the Jews of Europe banging on Palestine’s door? ANSWER: Not because of Messianic hope but…because the Nazis were threatening.
Within the past 75 years or so, there hasn’t been much of a move to Israel to wait for the Messiah. It’s been largely because of a fear of anti-Semitic violence.
What’s happening to the expectation of Messiah? It’s been watered down.
LIBERAL JEWISH THOUGHT ON MESSIANISM
Liberal rabbis can’t envision any supernatural action of God in our world, and so they have changed the conception of Messiah’s personal coming to the coming of a “Messianic Age” when there is universal peace and justice. Some have joked that the Reform Jews in America think that getting on board the Democratic Party platform is to help bring on the new Messianic Age of Peace.
Liberal American and European Jews don’t believe in miraculous occurrences in history. The coming of the Messiah is modified in their thinking to be a vague “messianic age” in which there is universal peace brought about by human efforts. Example: “The idea of the personal Messiah was reinterpreted as the longing for universal brotherhood within the context of ethical monotheism.” (Ariel) The emphasis now of most American Jews has been on the human effort to create the perfect world of peace and justice. This denotes a messianic age without a Messiah. This is a messianism that won’t produce. It is a phantom.
Liberal thinking on the subject: non-literal, non-personal and perpetually-unfulfilled, for there is no redemption in this outlook.
MORE SCRIPTURE ON THE MESSIAH
“As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before Him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion…” Daniel 7:13-14 (NRSV)
It was Israel’s founding party.
It was once the strongest party among the many in Israel’s pantheon of parties.
It has been properly dubbed as the Zionist-Socialist party, for it is a member of the Progressive Alliance and an observer member of the Party of European Socialists.
It was the dominant Political Party – 1968-1977
Labor Prime Ministers: David Ben-Gurion; Moshe Sharett; Golda Meir; Levi Eshkol; Yitzhak Rabin; Shimon Peres; Ehud Barak -- all dedicated to the task of the creation and development of a Jewish nation. The Labor Party was their means to get it done.
In rejecting their Labor Party, the Israelis have, as I see it, done this:
-- rejected Socialism
-- rejected a party with little Judaism
-- rejected the persistent peace initiatives
1. Socialism. Many of the first groups to Israel came out of Eastern Europe and Russia and had known no other political philosophy but Socialism. Most of them had cast aside the practices and beliefs of Judaism. (However, David Ben-Gurion had a keen interest in the scriptures.)
The Labor Party was a Socialist Party and promoted the welfare state. In the 1970’s it brought on increases in pension benefits, the creation of new social security schemes, children’s insurance, vacation pay for adopting parents, family allowance for veterans, housing rehabilitation in some areas and others.
In the 1970s the party was troubled by internal dissention and persistent charges of corruption—a situation that nearly always accompanies socialism.
With that done, the policies of Labor Party socialism were discredited.
Capitalism benefited the nation enormously. Socialism had benefited somewhat through government programs, but corruption was rampant and the economy stalemated under Socialism.
When in 2003, Benjamin Netanyahu was appointed Finance Minister he undertook to reduce the government’s excessive regulations, its bloated bureaucracy and welfare dependency. He froze government spending for three years, attacked monopolies and cartels, increased competition and reduced the top tax rates. “An economic miracle!” the commentators said afterwards.
Now, new companies are being formed all the time; and these new companies use the intelligent high-techies.
Under the Likud Party, business entrepreneurs are encouraged and have multiplied until Israel is now called “The Start-Up Nation.” When the book by that name, authored by Dan Senor and Saul Singer,was published in 2009, they said that “Israel had the highest density of start-ups in the world, more Israeli companies are listed on the NASDAQ exchange than all companies from the entire European continent.” And the nation is thriving.
2. The Labor Party was mostly irreligious. It had no inclination for seeking God’s mercy and guidance. It rejected the rich tradition of their covenant with Yahweh. It didn’t view the long exile of the Jewish people as punishment for their sins, as did many traditional Jews.
Labor Party Zionism wasn’t based on the Torah but was secular, democratic socialist a proponent of gay rights, easy on sexual misconduct.
Are these party members expecting the Messiah? I’m foolish to bring that up.
It was European.
Modern Israelis now have more faith. Polls indicate this. They are becoming, in general, more open to their version of Judaism. Many of them are not strictly observant but quite a few are; and they have rejected the liberal Judaism of American Jews. For example, there are no “Reform” or “Conservative” (not very different from the Reform) synagogues in Israel. Those branches of Judaism are too wishy-washy. Israeli congregations are modern Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox; and even the “ultras” are being received more and more into society, especially as they are willing to accept military participation.
QUESTION: Is there not corruption in the Likud Party and in all of them, even some of the religious parties? MY ANSWER: Yes, but not the gross and persistent corruption of yesteryear. (In fact, it can be argued that those now alleging corruption are charging it against Netanyahu for very personal misdemeanors. Am I not right?)
3. FOREIGN POLICY. Under Labor Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Israel recognized the PLO as the proper head of state for Palestine. Previously, the Israelis had opposed the formation of a Palestinian state.
Later, Ehud Barak, the Labor Party candidate in May 1999, was elected prime minister. During the elections he promised a new and vigorous drive for peace and was eager and anxious to partner with President Bill Clinton.
But Barak saw that Yassir Arafat wasn’t excited about peace. Instead, Arafat was said to be “aggressively passive” and his strategy “hyper-passive.” (From Aaron David Miller’s The Much Too Promised Land) Yes, he was passive.
Barak was angered. Nevertheless, he pressed on, conceding more….and yet more. No proposal was final. He just presented incentives like an overly-indulgent parent.
Here is what Labor Prime Minister Barak overlooked: (1) The Palestinian Charter called for the annihilation of the Zionist entity and that “armed struggle was the only way to liberate Palestine.” (2) The Islamic decrees that the Jews should forever be disgraced and debased. Therefore, if Arafat’s agreements would contradict these Islamic fundamental axioms, he would be dead meat. His own men would get him. (3) To adhere to any peace proposal, Arafat would have had to give up fighting, and he was a fighter.
Make no mistake: the Israelis yearn for peace—just listen to their music. But they have become disillusioned with the Peace Process.
The death of the Labor party has been coming partly because it was too ready to yield land that is both historic and that was provided for the Jewish people by the League of Nations.
Another thing: The Labor Party leaders knew that they needed the United States to negotiate for them, but schemed for an alliance with the European community once peace had been achieved!
The Labor Party ultra-peace, European-style Jews seek a democratic nation and a multicultural nation with no particular cultural allegiance. To them, a specifically Jewish state represents a rollback to a lower form of cultural-religious existence.” They’re O. K. with the stories of Abraham, Moses, David and the prophets. It’s their historical culture, but they’re not big on it. To speak of how to live as God’s people, to live in expectation of redemption or the Messiah—that’s not their thing.
In April, 2019, the party garnered only 6 votes, down from 24 in the previous election. In the election of March 2, 2020, it received just 3 votes. Then, in a recent poll, it didn’t get enough votes to have even one vote in the Knesset.
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The Torah and prophets of Israel warned Israel against going the way of the nations, because, if they did, they would be breaking the covenant with the Lord and covenanting instead with the nations that were headed towards divine judgment. The modern Labor Party ignored such.
Its demise is deserved.
Break up your fallow ground,
and do not sow among thorns.
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
Remove the foreskin of your hearts,
O people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 4:3-4 (NRSV)
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.