My postings on this blog may not be as regular as they have been. For one year, they were out every week, but my wife, Shirley, and I are looking for a residence close to our son and family in the Dallas Area. After all these years she is going to get permanent relief from meal-making three times a day and cleaning the house. Yes, it would be independent living in a community of the old and wise. Ahem!
In addition, if things work out as they should, my book, Israel the Chosen, will be published the second time with a company that does marketing. I’m now at work on editing it once again.
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For now, I return to the supposedly “great” event in the Middle East--the breaking down of barriers between Israel and two nations in the Middle East—The United Arab Republics and Bahrain with the possibility of even more on the way.
Is this all it’s cracked up to be? I wonder.
First, Bahrain is an island nation in the Persian Gulf—population 1.7 million, and less than half of those are citizens. O. K.?
Then, there is the United Arab Emirates with a population of 9.8 million, the great majority of which are migrants.
So what you have is a pair of extra-small nations.
QUESTION: Though small, do they have any influence?
ANSWER: No, not on their own. But they have the backing of America.
But aren’t the Americans trying to diminish their presence in the Middle East? Yes they are. For instance, a few thousand soldiers positioned in Iraq have just been issued their “go home” notices.
The border of these two tiny nations are with Saudi Arabia. BUT, right across the Persian Gulf lies the big, bad Islamicist nation of Iran.
So….the strength of these two nations has lain with their friend, the U. S. BUT….their new friend, Israel, is a newly powerful nation.
QUESTION: Therefore, who is really gaining here—the two tiny Islamic nations….or Israel? ANSWER: Both, of course, to a degree. Israeli intelligence will be enhanced. And just the fact that they are Arabic and Islamic is truly significant.
WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING HERE? America wants out of the Middle East. America is retrenching—pulling back. We’re spending ourselves silly. And we are committing ourselves to staving off the Chinese in the South China Sea. We’re now even pulling back from Europe.
Yes, America is retrenching, but Israel is reaching out. They are small, yes, but they have awe-inspiring intelligence.
Israel is a power who is willing to be a friend in time of need. It has shone that ever since it has become a viable nation. And it is in need of friends in the Middle East.
It is showing that it will ACT as a friend. It is not like Egypt and Jordan who technically recognize Israel but whose citizens still disdain Israel and will not mix. In those cases, the Jews are still seen as descendants of pigs and monkey. I kid you not.
CAUTION TO ISRAELIS: Don’t give up your Jewishness in order to be friends with the peoples surrounding you. Don’t intermarry with the Arabs. Let your children be, like you, the descendants of Abraham and Sarah.
ANOTHER CAUTION TO ISRAELIS: Don’t neglect the status of the Jews in the West Bank—Judea and Samaria. In order to establish relations with the United Arab Republic and Bahrain, you had to agree that there would be no “annexation” of any part of Area C of the West Bank for, it is said, about four years. Jewish law needs to be in force there.
Be friendly.....but know that Yahweh is the source of your life.
"Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good.
Sing to his name, for it is pleasant.
For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself,
Israel as his own possession.”
-- Psalms 135:3-4 (ESV)
In 1950 when Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was in the United States, he warned the Jewish leadership that Judaism in America faced death by a kiss.
I have written before of the sad state of Judaism in America. I hate to publish more; but….
The kiss was the great reception that America was giving the Jews who immigrated here in the 20th century. They were welcomed with open arms and assimilated into our population and culture. Their business people were doing just fine, their comedians were idolized and their religious life….well, it was accepted under our constitutional freedom of religion principle. And, as time wore on, the rabbis were just fine with inter-marriages, and the Reform Jewish rabbis would join with a Christian priest or pastor in performing a Christian-Jewish wedding ceremony. It was a melding process.
As this permissiveness and mixture of the two traditions took place, the younger generations of Jews were losing interest, and the non-Orthodox Jews were diminishing in great numbers.
As one of them in the early 20th century put it, cultural rot had taken place among American Jews. Hayim Nahman Bialik, poet laureate of Zionism said that it was up to the European and American Jews to choose between extinction and redemption.
There were warnings. As I've noted before, today, most American Jews have lost interest in their tradition and religious background.
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President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, married Ivanka Trump after she chose Judaism as her “faith.” Liberal Judaism exists right there in the household of President Trump. (I wrote of this in last week’s blog.)
Now, the news becomes very clear about Jared Kushner’s push plan for the State of Israel to pull back—to give up the claim for Samaria and Judea. Kushner is a senior White House advisor on the Middle East.
He sees the increasing Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria as a big problem. And his plan….well….is to “save the two state solution” and thus stop Israel from further enlarging its establishment there. “If we kept going with the status quo…ultimately, Israel would have eaten up all the land in the West Bank,” he said. His plan would be to establish a Palestinian state which would unite Gaza and some 70 per cent of the West.
This is the plan which would secure the other plan involving the normalizing of relations between the State of Israel and the UAE. Yes, to establish good relations with that Arab nation now means that the annexation plan which was in the works just a few weeks ago, is “on the table.”
That’s the way it’s going because of the family positions in the White House. "All in the family." And the practice of cow-towing to the Palestinians who have rejected every proposal up to now, and have received increasing amounts of cash from Europe and the U. N. (UNWRA).....well, that remains the same. They have been and still are “rejectionists.” As I said in last week’s blog, their firm position is: “Right of Return.” Every Palestinian anywhere in the world must be permitted to return to Palestine before they will become non-aggressors.
So….as the “Times of Israel” puts it: “The suspension of unilateral annexation plan was one of the main stated conditions of the August 13 Israel-UAE normalization agreement.” No, no, they can't do that! Well, yes they can, because it IS all in the family.
How then will Israel acquire the Promised Land—not just a part, but in whole? It won’t be from men emerging from the White House with white shirts and smiles, or any other center of power. It will come from the Lord. Just, I believe, as the Six-Day War of 1967 was, to me and a slew of other folks, a thing of divine providence.
Let's hear it straight from the Word:
As He says through the prophet Isaiah:
For your maker is your husband,
The Lord of Hosts is His name;
And the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer.
The God of the whole earth, He is called.
For the Lord has called you
Like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
Like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
Says your God.
(Isaiah 54:5-6 ESV)
The Right of Return
It became clear to most negotiators in the Middle East Peace Process in 1993 that large-scale talks with Arab nations could not work. A deal between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel would be the only way.
So in 1993, Israel recognized the PLO as a single negotiating partner (which they hadn’t before); and likewise the PLO accepted Israel. The American negotiating team was jubilant: “Anything, everything seemed possible!” said the American Secretary of State.
Oh, yes, what a great thing—to negotiate directly with the PLO.
Well, here it is—2020, and “we” are still trying and begging the Palestinians to negotiate in good faith.
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The one key stumbling block is called “The Right of Return.”
The people who would supposedly benefit are the Palestinian Refugees from the War of 1948. And where do they live now? In many nations around the world. All of them would be invited to immigrate to the Holy Land!
Now in 2020, four generations later, the Palestinians are still declaring that there will be no peace until a “Right of Return” is put into effect…giving all Palestinians, world-wide, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren the right to return to live where their ancestors lived in 1948.
So what would that do to the Jewish State of Israel? It would quickly be a state no longer. It would cease to exist; because any land the Palestinians control is out-of-bounds to Jews. This happened when Israel moved out of Gaza.
Yet in that War of 1948, the Palestinians were the aggressors against the Jewish People who were by the declarations of both the League of Nations and the United Nations to have Palestine as their homeland.
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Such a demand has never been made by any other nation or empire which lost a war in which they were the aggressors.
(NOTE: That War of 1948 actually began in 1947 by the Palestinians alone, the Arab states following later.)
Thus, the Palestinians are living in a fantasyland. And those who continually act on the basis that peace might be attained through offering land to the Palestinians are in a fog.
EXAMPLES OF WAR REFUGEES
Tens of millions of people became refugees in the 20th century because of the major wars and the displacement of peoples.
EXAMPLE #1: Think of the Germans who lived in adjacent countries who, after World War II were forced to leave their homes with nothing but what they could carry to Germany. Germany lost, and the Germans could not choose to live where they wanted…. 12.5 million Germans were forced to leave Czechoslovakia and Poland. They were expelled, and Germany resettled and integrated them.
EXAMPLE #2: After the war and partitioning of India and Pakistan in 1947, eight million Hindus fled from Pakistan and the six million Muslims who left India had to resettle as part of a massive population transfer.
There was no “Right of Return” to their residences.
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Reasons not to allow the Palestinian Right of Return to Israel:
FIRST: Arab Palestinian so-called refugees have no real interest in living in peace beside the Jews. They would return simply to overpopulate the Israeli state, destroying the very Jewish character of the country and eventually prohibiting the Israelis from governing.
SECONDLY: It is the Palestinians who started the war. They were the aggressors. They were hate-filled and determined to kill or oust the Jews.
THIRDLY: many of the Israelis whom they were fighting had been refugees themselves from North Africa and Europe—nearly a half million from North Africa alone. They were usually expelled without their possessions. That's how the Jews were treated under Arab governments.
But the “Right of Return” is held out as the right of Arab-Palestinians, and they want it guaranteed…today…in 2020.
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"The Arab States do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t care whether the refugees live or die." —Sir Alexander Galloway, former head of UNRWA in Jordan (April 1952)
To bring us up to date….and incredible as it seems, the Palestinians even today are insisting that all descendants of the refugees from the War of 1948 be allow to return to Palestine/Israel. It’s insane!
NOTE: We are now in the 5th generation of all the descendants of all the Palestinian refugees of that war!
NOTE TOO: Following other major wars, the aggressors who lost were given no rights.
But, most of the world, including Europe, the U. S. State Department and most American Jews, want to keep efforts alive to make a deal with the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
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NOTE THIS NEW DEVELOPMENT: The recent press release from the White House announcing the Israel-United Arab Emirates peace deal:
As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world.
Something happened. Someone intervened. Who is it that has undermined the Annexation Plan whereby Israel would designate certain areas of the West Bank to be ruled by Israeli law and thereby be Israeli territory? Part of it would be the all-important-for-security Jordan Valley. From whom did this come? It is someone important, not only as an advisor for the president on the Middle East, but someone in his family—someone who wants to be the author of the ever-so-elusive Peace Plan between the Palestinians and Israel.
And that would be Jason Greenblatt, the son-in-law of President Trump.
“Mr. Greenblatt, it isn’t going to work." Why? Because the Palestinians will not give up on their demand to incorporate the “Right of Return” into any peace agreement.
The famed journalist and author, Caroline Glick, said this:
In multiple statements….Kushner has repeatedly said that the deal [with the UAE] was born from the UAE’s desire to prevent Netanyahu from implementing the sovereignty plan.
The one key Palestinian demand is unreasonable—the right of everyone worldwide who claims to be a descendant of those who left their homes in Israel….to return. But Mr. Kushner and aides--and most American Jews—believe that pushing another peace plan is to be preferred to the Annexation Plan.
And it is, they believe, more important than the Chosen People gaining more of the land allocated to them by the Lord God.
But the Lord is at hand and in due time will, as in 1967, further enrich His Chosen Ones and enlarge the place of their habitation.
“Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart….
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things,
and give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise
that you may be feared.”
-- Psalms 119:33-34, 37-38 (ESV)
Consider Joseph--the favorite son of Jacob—the son who predicted his own prominence and who then became odious in the sight of his brothers.
Think of those years—many years—after Joseph had been left in the pit into which his brothers threw him.
Think now of those brothers--living with their father, Jacob, and holding onto this false narrative: an animal must have killed Joseph; and there was the evidence--Joseph’s coat they took home to Jacob, was covered with blood, a false sign that he was dead. They had thrown him into a pit, taken Joseph's coat and spattered it with the blood of an animal.
These sons of Jacob/Israel—devious and deceptive though they are—are the great-grandsons of Abraham the great patriarch of promise…the grandsons of Isaac and the sons of Jacob who was visited by the angel and named "Israel." And…. this devious offspring of the patriarchs are to sire the Twelve Tribes of Israel!
All those many years following at their home, Joseph’s brothers were silent about Joseph. If they discussed him at all, it would be in secret whispers. He was as good as dead.
Except he wasn’t.
Instead, he was on a rocky start to greatness in the great land of Egypt—all unknown to his family.
If we were to consider whom these figures might represent, we would be looking ahead to the future--numerous and world-wide Israel, would we not?
Israel after the Time of Christ
Consider the Jews of today and their attitude towards the Messiah/Yeshua. Like Jacob’s brothers, they hardly ever speak of Him, and their silence on him is profound.
The educated Jewish people express themselves a lot. They are verbose. I am continually amazed at the vast numbers of books they write about themselves, their history, their form of Judaism and their politics. They own many publishing houses. I take some of their periodicals/journals, one being “The Jewish Review of Books,” and I’m always amazed at their many perspectives on themselves and their own race.
But they seldom if ever write or enter into discussion about the most well-known and amazing Jewish individual who ever lived—Yeshua/Jesus.
QUESTION: What would you say that silence entails?
Now…back to Jacob’s sons.
They are Joseph’s brethren, and they must be carrying a heavy burden of guilt.
They believe that they have committed fratricide—murdering one’s brother--or, at least sold him into oblivion.
It was the father who sent him? What father? Father Jacob. But we also refer to Yeshua and his brethren. Both were dearly loved/are loved by the father.
The garments of both were blood-soaked and significant.
QUESTION: So what are we looking at here?
ANSWER: Joseph is a type of Christ. Joseph, through his leadership in Egypt, became a blessing to the world of the Eastern Mediterranean. He distributed food to the hungry peoples. Christ Jesus is the eternal Son of the Father Who is the Bread of Life.
Some day Jesus' own people will weep because of Him about whom they have been silent for so long. .
“And I will pour out on the house of David and 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)
One of Moses’ lectures to the Israelites as they were poised to go in an claim the land has a section about finance, money and lending:
"There will be no poor among you; for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess—if only you will strictly obey the voice of the Lord God, being careful to do all this commandment that I command you today. For the Lord your God will bless you, as he promised you, and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow, and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you." (Deuteronomy 15:4-6 ESV)
At this point in their history they had profited by the riches of Egypt. Remember? Their Egyptian bosses, friends and neighbors gave them what they wanted just to get them to leave after the ten plagues. “Here…Go…Now!” And the Israelites left with great treasures.
In the future, they would learn to trade and lend.
In the middle Ages, the Christians were taught not to lend at interest. But the Jews lived under no such prohibition. They always had working capital since as they moved from place to place, they were skilled in concentrating their wealth (Paul Johnson: A History of the Jews). They could trade easily. If in one place they were persecuted, they could easily pick up and move to another and in that new place they could then use their wealth to invest. They were quick to respond to new situations.
Indeed, it was the Jews who became capitalists, having come to terms with borrowing and lending which brought them influence. This turned out to be one of the greatest contributions the Jews made to human progress. So says Johnson. Why? Because they were accused of loving money. Others might be said to love real estate, cattle or some other commodity. Any of these could be idolatrous.
Johnson: “If they made money work for them, they were parasites.” That’s the reputation they got.
Again, Johnson: “The Jews had particular contributions to make to the spirit of economic innovation and enterprise.”
In the 17th century the population of Europe was expanding fast. It needed to import growing quantities of grain. “Ambitious Polish landowners, anxious to meet the need, went into partnership with Jewish entrepreneurs to create new wheat-growing areas to supply the market, take the grain down-river to the Baltic ports, and then ship it west. The ports were run by German Lutherans. The Dutch Calvinists owned most of the ships. But the Jews did the rest.” They managed, they leased, they ran the tolls, they built and ran mills and distilleries.
Many of the Jews who were eventually expelled from Europe went to the Americas, there to establish factories, create new industry and establish trade.
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Those who read this blog regularly know that this column is not easy on the Jewish people for their stubborn disregard of the Word of God. Nevertheless, God who has made them a witness in this world has not rejected them. So says the Apostle Paul.
So, let us look and see and acknowledge their ingenuity. When Moses declared: “You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow,” we see that God has imbued this people with talents that, all in all, have been a blessing. We live better lives in this world because of them.
And I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you and make your name great.
So that you will be a blessing.
-- Genesis 12:2 (ESV)
*Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews. Harper & Row, 1987.
Can you believe that Israel has an annual day of mourning? What is it all about? And I don’t mean Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement.
Tisha Be’av is a fast day that commemorates the destruction of both temples--Solomon’s and Herod’s. On both occasions, the people were thrown into exile. The Jews scattered abroad. No more temple worship. Thus, Tisha Be’av is the saddest day of the Jewish year.
This year Tisha Beav came on July 29th and 30th.
The traditional observances are fasting, sitting on the ground, refraining from washing, sexual activity and greeting people. Plus, there must be repentance of sins that the Jews say brought about the destruction of both temples.
In an article in the Jerusalem Post two weeks ago, Benji Singer says he thinks that due to the Corona Virus it is easier to understand what Tisha Beav is all about. That’s because, he says, we are experiencing a breakdown of our economy, financial security and relationships. We now have the yearning to return to the life we previously had.
In Israel, restaurants and places of entertainment are required to close on the eve of Tisha Beav, and many recreational activities are shut down.
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THE FIRST TEMPLE DESTROYED—King Solomon’s….which lasted until 587-586 B. C. Then, all but the poorest of people were taken into captivity, not in vehicles but walking the whole trip to Babylon.
We have a picture and an explanation of that temple destruction and the razing of Jerusalem in the Book of Lamentations. Here is one quote:
How lonely sits the city
that once was full of people!
How like a widow she has become…
She that was a princess among the provinces…
Jerusalem sinned grievously,
So she has become a mockery…
The Lord has become like an enemy…
- Lamentations 1:1; 2:5
Israel’s God was one who cared deeply. Yet it was hard for those Israelites to believe that. Again, in Lamentations we read:
- Israel’s God was sick of Israel’s hypocrisy: “The Lord has scorned his altar.”
- Israel’s God let Israel be put in ruins: “The Lord has become like an enemy.”
- Israel’s God had warned Israel through the prophets: “The Lord has done what he purposed.”
THE SECOND TEMPLE--King Herod’s, destroyed by the Romans in 70 A. D.
Jesus worshipped, taught and preached in its courts of Herod's temple. He also predicted its destruction, decrying the “wicked and adulterous generation” in which He lived, especially the cities. (Of course, the rejecting Jews paid no attention.)
So, the two temples of Jerusalem…destroyed because of hypocrisy and wickedness. Both are mourned. Yes, both ancient catastrophes are still prominent on the Jewish calendar and unforgettable in the minds of religious Jews today in Israel.
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So, modern Israel uses the Book of Lamentations for its observance of Tisha Be’av—an old, old book of laments for its modern day of mourning. What a thing of pathos!
“My eyes are spent with weeping;
My stomach churns;
My bile is poured out on the ground
because of the destruction of my people,
because infants and babes faint
in the streets of the city. (2:11)
“I am one who has seen affliction
under the rod of God’s wrath;
He has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light…
He has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation….
“My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
therefore I will hope in him.’”
- From Lamentations 2 & 3 (NRSV)
Right there…abruptly…the remembrance of things past comes to the prophet; the character of the Lord is seen. Even though He has appointed the Babylonian power to demolish their place and His place—Jerusalem--Jeremiah, all at once, remembers how the Lord has shown His love....so many times....in so many different ways.
Israel has suffered greatly in the past hundred years….GREATLY. But we are now seeing His steadfast love and faithfulness and its beautiful effect upon His Chosen Ones in the Holy Land of Promise.
Even though the population of the State of Israel is exceedingly small, Israel has never in their times of greatest peril asked for military personnel from another nation.
WAR OF INDEPENDANCE
Fighting broke out in late 1947 shortly after the United Nations voted to grant Israel’s statehood. The Arabs falsely claimed that the Jews were trying to annihilate them. Not so.
The Israeli forces permitted them to leave, if they wanted, the cities that were captured by the Jews.
On May 14, 1948 the British left the country, and Israel declared Independence. On the very next day, five Arab armies from Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq invaded the new Israel. The Jewish Haganah had 60,000 trained fighters, but only 18,900 of them were fully armed and ready for war.
Did Israel ask the U. N. or the U. S. to aid them in this fight for the life of their new nation, authorized by the United Nations and recognized by the United State? No.
No nations fought alongside Israel. Israel won the war without personnel from any other nation.
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THE SIX-DAY WAR OF 1967
After years of terrorist activity on Israel’s southern border by Egyptian militia, Egypt and Syria determined to make war with Israel. President Nasser of Egypt declared their aim: “…the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people…at the destruction of the State of Israel.”
On May 15, 1967, Israel’s Independence Day, Egyptian troops began amassing troops in the Sinai desert. On May 18, the Syrians prepared for battle in the north on the Golan Heights. On May 22, Egypt violated international maritime law by closing the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, Israel’s only supply route with Asia.
The United States attempted to negotiate a deal to prevent hostilities but was unsuccessful. President Lyndon Johnson was hampered: America was in the Viet Nam War. He urged Israel not to initiate hostilities. How could he say that? Israel was surrounded by nations that were all ready for war and on Israel’s borders. International commerce to the east was cut off. Nasser declared over the radio this this was a war of extermination.
America’s State Department at this time announced: “Our position is neutral in thought, word and deed.” What?
AND GET THIS: Both the United States and France put an arms embargo on every nation in the region including Israel to express disapproval of the war. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union was supplying massive amounts of arms to the Arabs! And…Kuwait, Algeria, Saudi Arabs and Iraq were contributing troops and arms to the Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanians as they fought Israel!
Yitzhak Rabin, Chief of the General Staff said at the time: “It’s time we stop deluding ourselves that someone will come to our aid.”
AND NOTE: Look at where the U. S. has been or is now defending the freedom of other nations both small and large—South Korea about what...40,000 soldiers? We’re still in Europe, though some may soon be coming home. I think we have some in Iraq. And then there’s Afghanistan.
QUESTION: Is Israel in an alliance like NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) where each and every member is pledged to come to the aid of ANY of the others, no matter how small, who are invaded by another country.
ANSWER: No, Israel is not included in any alliance of this type.
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As I was preparing for this blog, my reading from the prophets took me to this Isaiah passage where Israel is “brought low.” That was the feeling in Israel before the 1967 war. “Prophecies of doom and the feeling of imminent defeat were prevalent among the majority in Israel.” (Jewish Virtual Library)
Jerusalem (Ariel, another name for the city) is brought low. Yet…and here Isaiah speaks an unbelievably relevant and poignant poem that magnificently speaks to Israel’s situation:
But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust,
And the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff.
And in an instant, suddenly,
You will be visited by the Lord of hosts….
And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
All that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her
Shall be like a dream, a vision of the night….
So shall the multitude of all the nations be
that fight against Mount Zion.
--from Isaiah 29
The final episode of the nations swooping down on Israel to destroy her has not happened yet. But these wars since her rebirth in modern times illustrate how alone Israel is in this world—how devoid of the help of other nations--how dependent on the Lord God she is for her existence, protection and health. It is He that has chosen Israel, who will renew her covenant with Him; and it is He that is raising her up to be a witness to His Lordship over the nations.
In the early and mid 20th century as the alijahs occurred….(What is an alijah? It is a wave of immigration to the Holy Land and is called such because in Jewish thought, the Holy Land is high above all else.) ….. when Jews emigrated from Europe to Palestine, they were going there to gain safety and security, and secondly, to re-establish a Jewish culture and way of life. Most of these European Jews had left their shtetls and ghettos to become socialists and Marxists. (Remember “Fiddler on the Roof”?)
But things have changed in Israel: Enter “Religious Zionism”
The Jerusalem Post ran an article one year ago entitled: “How Religious Zionism Became a Pillar of Israel.”
Religious Zionism was very marginal before the Six Day War said Yair Sheleg, research fellow of the Israel Democracy Institute. But now, he says, “The religious Zionist community is a pillar of Israeli society.”
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook was instrumental in the founding of this group. He said this:
The role of religious Zionists is to help them to establish a Jewish state and turn the religious spark in them into a great light….The real source of Zionism and the longed-for Zion is Judaism and the [teaching of the] Torah with love and kindness.
Today, 30 to 40 per cent of officers in the Israel Defense Forces are religious Zionists, and there are many in the media, politics, theatre and cinema with four members of the Supreme Court who are religious.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Enter, the Europeans
The West European people are casting off their religion and their identities.
They look forward to the abolition of nation-states (that means no nations—no national sense). They look forward to the situation in which there will be no France or Germany or Switzerland. They are driving towards a full European Union which they believe holds the key to the well-being of both Europe and the world. That would mean that people have to be willing to give up any right to independent action. Yes, that’s right! And they want that eventually other nations will join.
Why should we give up our rights as a nation? Because, these people say, and most Europeans agree, we have, in our recent history, the horrible results of wars conducted by aggressive nations. Example: Nazi Germany. If we would give up national rights, they say, we would have a world of peace. (This way of looking at the world was drawn by Immanuel Kant in a document entitled: "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch" in which he compared national independence to the lawless freedom of savages producing a barbaric disorder.)
With the drive towards the European Union, the nations of Europe have established a new governing model in which the sovereign nation-state is no longer seen as holding the key to the well-being of humanity. On the contrary, it is seen now by many European leaders as a source of great evil. Yes, under that model or paradigm, the U. S. shouldn’t be a separate nation; we should be a part of a much larger entity, maybe along with Europe, maybe along with Canada, Mexico and others. And eventually, there is the great ideal of a world government. And all the peoples should be willing to give up any right to act on the basis of one’s political independence.
Now, added to that, these thinkers and much of the populace in European countries are also casting off their religious heritage. No Christianity recognized. They can’t be bothered with it. They don’t believe.
In the writing of the new European Union constitution, it was decided that there would be no reference to Europe’s Christian heritage, only to the ever-expanding emphasis upon human rights. So, by this time, the young and middle-age population of Europe know very little to nothing about true Christianity. Their minds are empty of spiritual truth.
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Now….it becomes more clear why Europe doesn’t feel good about Israel!
THE CONTRAST IS FULLY EVIDENT
1. The State of Israel is becoming stronger politically as a nation-state.
2. The State of Israel is becoming more religiously aware and active.
3. And the national religious youth of Israel are in the forefront.
Israel’s standing now with the West Europeans and American Liberals is not what it used to be. When Israel first became a state there was quite a bit of acclamation of its new existence in its rebirth. But now these leaders of Europe and the Democratic Party progressives in the U. S. do not look so favorably on Israel. And that is because Israel has a different way of being. Israel is unique and strongly-connected with its past.
As I point out in my book, Israel the Chosen, the Jewish People and the State of Israel have always been separate and distinct from other peoples. Not that all of them subscribe to this separateness, but it’s in their “reason for being.” They are “Chosen.” They are “kosher” just like their food—select, separate, specially set apart. They are like the Sabbath—again, specially set apart.
When you look at this from the Biblical and the Judaism position, they are a “holy people.” One aspect of holiness is to be set apart. Another is to be living a Godly life, pure and clean.
By and large, I would say that the Europeans hate this idea. They want to wipe out such distinctions. They want to be inclusive with no race or ethnic group better than any other. They want to be “universalistic,” Designations like “The Chosen People,” are distasteful to them.
As I said, Europe is largely secular—godless. They’ve left out any reference to God in their modern constitution. It wasn’t overlooked; it was a decision.
NOTE: Some of the intellectual Israelis want to be like Europe. They think like Europe; they travel to Europe; they strive for Israel to be like Europe. Think of that in relation to the 1940's and the increasing anti-Semitism today.
NOTE ALSO: The European Union is a trading partner with Israel. And that is because what Israel produces is of high quality and the latest technology.
WATCH THEN: How the Europeans and Israelis interact…. in trading, in the United Nations and in cultural events.
BUT: As noted at the beginning, Israel is becoming more and more interested in her relationship with her Covenant Lord God. Allelujah!
But let Israel hear the Word of the Lord…..
Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
You people who have my teaching in your hearts;
Do not fear the reproach of others,
And do not be dismayed when they revile you….
My deliverance will be forever
And my salvation to all generations….
See, my servant shall prosper;
He shall be exalted and lifted up,
and shall be very high.
- Isaiah 51:7-8; 52:13 (NRSV)
In the Book of Numbers, the story is told of King Balak (of Moab) who wants a curse put on the Israelites who are in their wilderness trek towards the Promised Land (Canaan).
He calls the semi-godly and semi-pagan prophet Balaam, to come to him and curse Israel in their presence. He will pay Balaam handsomely and honor him extravagantly. “Just come and do it,” said the king.
Balaam answered “no.” But the king persisted.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? King Balak is afraid of Israel after hearing of the destruction of a large area of Amorite cities and villages--recent military triumphs of Israel. And he is angered that the nation Israel should travel so close to Moab’s territory.
So…the prophet Balaam prepares to go to the Moabite king, thinking of the remuneration and prestige. He will put a curse on the Israelites.
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The State of Israel is despised and feared, so a curse must be placed upon her…. not just be victorious in warfare with Israel, but be RID of Israel! Curse them!
THIS IS A TALE OF TODAY.
Similar to….. Black Lives Matter--its platform in August of 2016 in which it accuses the State of Israel of perpetrating genocide against the Palestinians. They’ve labeled Israel an “apartheid” state and want Israel as a state gone.
Similar to…. Palestinian Sheikh Nasser Maarouf of the Palestine Islamic Scholars Association, in a July 3rd interview who said that the millions of people who were killed in the World Wars died because of the Jews who, he said, tyrannize and corrupt the world, blaming them for world poverty, bloodshed and the violation of women’s honor all over the world. They feed and finance corruption wherever they are. This is very typical of Muslim cleric slander.
And then, there is much of the American academic community which is calling for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
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BUT…BACK TO OUR STORY
Balaam, the semi-Godly, semi-pagan prophet, is given permission by God to go to confer with King Balak who wants a curse on Israel. Nevertheless, God expressed His displeasure by making Balaam’s donkey stop cold in his tracks. When Balaam strikes his donkey, the donkey TALKS….rebels.
Whoa! Balaam now knows that even though he has God’s permission, that He is displeased. An angel appears to speak the words of God:
“Behold, I have come out to oppose you, because your way is perverse before me.”
GET THIS NOW: Balaam says, “If it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.” Well, duh. The Lord, in the first place, told him not to go. Nevertheless, the Lord through the angel now tells him to go on. Why? God has His reasons.
NOW THE PROPHET BALAAM MEETS KING BALAK. He is present with all his princes. A great Middle East summit meeting.
The prophet had warned: “The word that the Lord puts in my mouth, that will I speak.” (Good for him) And now at their meeting, on a summit viewing the camped Israelites, the prophet Balaam paused as he viewed the encampment of God’s people….paused to listen for the divine voice, and this is what he heard:
“Behold, a people dwelling alone,
And not counting itself among the nations!
Who can count the dust of Jacob,
Or number the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
And let my end be like his.”
Ah, remember what God told Abraham: “Look toward heaven and number the stars…So shall your offspring be.” Fertility was the promise. Here that fertility was seen.
Balaam was so impressed that he desired to die among God’s people. Hm-m.
All right. That wasn’t working for King Balak. He wanted to try a second time to get a curse from Baalam. So he, Baalam, and the princes went to a different vista to try again. “Perhaps it will please God to curse them there,” he said. Remember, he’s very afraid of this nation of people.
And again at that place, Balak anxiously asked: “What has the Lord spoken?” And Balaam said this to the king: “Rise, Balak, and hear:
“Behold, I have received a command to bless:
He has blessed, and I cannot revoke it….
For there is no enchantment against Jacob….
The Lord their God is with them…
Now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
What has God wrought!”
“What has God wrought!” The prophet is overwhelmed with awe! He’s so impressed.
King Balak was overwhelmed too, but with anger. He struck his hands together. But Balaam retorted: “Did I not tell your messengers….that I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord?”
Now the final oracle that Balaam gave, not really wanted by Balak was this amazing prophecy:
“The oracle of him….who knows the vision
of the Almighty….I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near;
A star shall come out of Jacob;
and a scepter shall arise out of Israel.”
What is being conveyed in this oracle or prophetic utterance?
This indeed is what will come out from Israel--out from the Chosen People: The Chosen Man—the Messiah. God’s blessing on Israel revealed here includes even this!
This is the plan of the eternal God of Israel. This is why God permitted Balaam to go to the summit meeting with King Balak—to speak His very Word.
Balak the king, stands for the nations that wish and work to defeat Israel. But Israel will not be vanquished. Israel will not be cursed. And Israel will be blessed.
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Israel is a nation that stands out. It is an unperfected nation as the incidents in the Book of Numbers before and after this one show. But it exists in a covenantal relationship with the Lord, and He will bring it to perfection after He cleanses Israel from her filthiness.
Those who wish to annihilate Israel, or slice off more land from her to allocate it to her enemies, or issue slanderous anti-Semitic declarations, or isolate and delegitimize her, or boycott her products, or continually attack her population with rockets, or issue sanctions against her, or issue unfair accusations in the World Court, the tribunals of the world and the United Nations Human Rights Council or the U. N. General Assembly will only hurt themselves and their own people. For God is not pleased.
“Well, of course,” you say. “But Jews are accepted and are part of the white establishment. Many of them are rich, and in the upper class. If you use this slogan on their behalf, you’re just passing off the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement as illegitimate.”
I do believe in taking one’s stand against the racism that de-humanizes the blacks and refuses to include them in the fabric of our society. Yet we must not forget the Jewish people who have experienced racism for their entire existence, beginning as a people in Egypt.
Yes, the Jews have experienced race-based hatred as well as blacks and other people of color.
Just yesterday, I heard this: “The world has always had problems with Jews.” Why? Because they are unique and, when they are truly observant, they are separate.
On Monday of this week, I received a report from the “Daily Alert” which in turn quoted a write-up from the Jewish Anti-Defamation League saying that there have been at least 35 anti-Jewish rallies in American cities since July 1st. They report that these rallies featured speeches and placards with insults and the typical Jew-hatred accusations. Here are some typical slams:
“The Jews are now showing that they learned from the Nazis.”
“The Jews rule the world by proxy; they get others to fight and die
“The Holocaust was not as severe as they say.”
“The Jewish lobby controls our government.”
And more…. like the accusations that Jewish-American politicians don’t know which country they represent—America or Israel. Another: “The Jews are taking over the world’s power centers. They have their hands in the financial holdings world-wide. They’ll eventually control everything."
These tropes aren’t new, so one wonders really when the Jewish takeover is going to happen.
In these rallies, one could hear blatant tropes/clichés/harangues, by which I mean sayings like this: “Then there are the put-downs/tropes/clichés about the STATE of Israel:
“Zionism is racism.” (Zionism is this: the movement of the Jewish people back to their country, most significantly, Jerusalem, which is called Zion.)
Get this: about half of these rallies blamed the Jews for police brutality in the United States!
The report further says that in the July 1st rally in Brooklyn, some in the mob chanted in Arabic, “Death to America, death to Israel.”
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Then there are the tropes about the State of Israel:
“Israel has an apartheid (absolute segregation on account of race) society."
“They are a colonial power.”
“The Palestinians are the descendants of the ancient Canaanites.”
ANOTHER: “Palestine belongs to the Palestinians.” Wrong again. The land was never independent following the expulsion of the Jews in 70 A. D. until the present. It was governed by empires. The population has been replaced many times over the past two thousand years. During the time when Britain controlled Palestine (about 1920 – 1947) there were more than 100,000 Arabs who moved in from neighboring Arab countries. It was never an independent state.
And….the name “Palestinian” for the Arabs who lived there was never used until the Palestine Liberation Organization and Yassir Arafat began their terrorist campaign for freedom from the Jews and their expulsion! Before that, Jews themselves called their associations “Palestinian” such as “The Palestine Symphony Orchestra in the 1930’s which was made up of Jews. The term “Palestinian” wasn’t used only of Arabs until the crew under Yassir Arafat came there from Tunisia in the 1960’s.
And now, the Arabs in Israel are citizens just like the Jews. And the Palestinians who do not have citizenship have much, much more than the Arabs of the neighboring countries and should have even more rights and higher living standards if the recent Trump plan goes into effect, with the West Bank under Israeli law and no more under military administration.
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Well, the Europeans have had long periods of cruel anti-Semitism in their history. Following World War II and the Holocaust, it lessened significantly. But in this 21st century anti-Semitism has revived, and the influx of Muslim immigrants has exacerbated the problem. The nations from which they originate are soaked with anti-Semitism in their culture and their platforms. In their countries the people continually hear that Jews are a cancer, that they are descendants of apes and pigs, are sub-human, etc. and that those who kill a Jew will be honored by Allah.
And now most European politicians are slow to denounce this poison in their midst and are feeble in their actions to combat this racism against the Jews. Their timidity is disheartening to the Jews living there.
And in America, it is heavy on our university campuses and among the far left and far right political activists. With the Muslim population increasing and so much favor shown to them and so much criticism against anyone who criticizes Islam, anti-Semitism is sure to increase.
So it has been in France. And Great Britain.
It would be nice if the Islamists could change their tune about the Jews. But it’s firmly ensconced in Muhammed’s life, in the Koran and in their tradition. Their children are taught to hate them and to kill them.
The question is: Will be take our stand against this virulent form of anti-Semitism?
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I must relate this incident. I know a young man who attended a large university in Pennsylvania and who had friends, both Muslim and Jewish. One day, as the young Muslim was visiting my friend in his apartment. All at once the Muslim young man flew into a rage: “How could you do this to me…I thought you and I were friends,” and on and on he went with his diatribe. What was it about? The problem was this: he happened to see on my friend’s desk a photo of two Jewish friends whose pictures made it evident that they were Jewish. The Muslim friend was actually a friendly personable fellow, but his rage erupted at the sight of Jewish people who were friends. He accused my friend of being a traitor to him. Thus: “If you’re my friend, you cannot be a friend of Jews!”
So who can we count as our friends, and whose lives matter to us? Will we take the way the world is moving— heedless of God’s election of the Chosen People? Or will we respect the Chosen of God, regardless of their shortcomings, because they represent the Torah--that Mosaic Law, the prophets, the Blessed Messiah and the apostles of that Messiah, Yeshua, Jesus.
It really does matter….a lot.
“I will bless those who bless you,
and him who dishonors you I will curse,
and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
-- Genesis 12 (ESV)
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