Leading up to the
Zionist movement, there was almost constant warfare between tribes and villages which exceeded anything that was known in the most turbulent centuries of early feudal Europe. (1)
QUESTION: Why didn’t the Ottoman administration--the Turks and their lackeys, take action? Their empire ruled Palestine. They could have stopped the violence.
ANSWER: The Turkish governors were agreeable to this state of affairs (constant warfare). Why? Because they didn’t want any landowning families to consolidate their power on a permanent basis by which security would be ensured.
In other words, a peaceful Palestine would have been a threat to the Turks. Strife in Palestine was just fine for them.
And Remember: It was early in the following century (20th) that the Turkish administration and army exterminated one and one-half million Armenians—the first such act in the world to be called a genocide.
In the wars between villages it was common practice to cut down fruit trees and olives and to destroy crops.
Also, Bedouins freely destroyed the crops of villages which they raided, and killed or carried off their livestock. They filled wells with stones and broke down reservoirs and cisterns.
- streams and rivers became dammed
- malaria became endemic and
- the unlucky peasants fled elsewhere or starved
In first half of the nineteenth century the population sank to the lowest level it had ever known in historic times. (1)
So it was with The Land before the Jews returned.
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A Witness to late 19th century Palestine—Mark Twain, Author
Twain visited Palestine in 1867 and reported on its bleakness and desolation. He wrote:
"Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills are barren, they are dull of color, they are unpicturesque in shape. The valleys are unsightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegetation that has an expression about it of being sorrowful and despondent…It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land…Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes." (From his book, The Innocents Abroad)
A Rabbi Speaks
The few Jewish communities there were in 19th century Palestine never knew when trouble was coming. Rabbi Mosha Reisher, writing in Jerusalem in the middle of that century wrote: “What shall I tell of the heavy burden of exile that fell upon the Jews dwelling in the Land of Life [i.e. the Holy Land] from the day they settled there….Jerusalem was full of ruins, and the surrounding countryside was desolate and neglected. Jews dared not venture outside the City wall for fear of being waylaid by robbers…The Jew would be sent off naked and barefoot…. The men who set upon them were not professional robbers or Bedouin, but their neighbors among whom they dwelt.” (Avraham Yaari: The Goodly Heritage, Jewish Agency, 1958)
Thus we see the pitiful condition of Jerusalem and its environs prior to the dawn of Zionism and the great return.
QUESTION: That turbulence and that bleakness—would it still be present in the land if the Jews had not come? ANSWER: Just take a look at the land of Israel’s neighbors now….and see what the Holy Land would be without the Jewish presence--tumult, low standard of living, mostly desolation and ignorance.
FAST FORWARD: Just thirty-some years into the 20th century.
In the 1930’s with Jewish communities now in the land, the Arabs in Palestine rioted repeatedly. They contended that there was not enough room in Palestine for the Jews.
The British Administration sent a commission to investigate. At this point the British really do not favor the Jews. Yet, after much research and a massive report, the commission’s conclusions contradicted the Arab arguments.
The Peel Commission (1937). They found that Arab complaints were baseless. To the complaint that there was not enough room for the Jews, the Commission found that if there were a shortage of land, it was due to a flood of illegal Arab immigration entering Palestine. The reason for this? Jobs, of course, due to Jewish industry, higher wages and an improved standard of living.
Of course, everyone knew that.
The contradiction has always been there: hate for the Jews and yet…a grudging acknowledgement for what the Jews produce
The Lie: Everything was O. K. before the Jews came.
“But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot out your branches
and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they shall soon come home.
See now, I am for you; I will turn to you and you shall be tilled and sown;
and I will multiply your population, the whole house of Israel, all of it;
the towns shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt…”
-- Ezekiel 36:8-10 (NRSV)
(1) Information from James Parkes, historian, Anglican clergyman and author of books on Palestine including Whose Land? A History of the Peoples of Palestine, Taplinger, 1949, 1970.
Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel informs the press that he cannot at this time form a government. That makes me think….
Modern Israel has nothing like the holy men of ancient Israel. There is no modern prophet--no Elijah, or Isaiah, or Jeremiah…and no king like David, Solomon or Josiah. These men of God were especially called by God and are acclaimed as ideal.
Today, Israel has no one leader of preeminence, religious or political, whom the whole of Jewry acknowledges.
Isn’t there anyone…any leader who unites them in any way? “
Yes, there is one.
Michael Medved, the Jewish film critic and political commentator (not a Messianic Jew), has plainly said:
"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, the beginning and end of their ideological identity as adherents to what is still misleadingly described as ‘the Jewish faith.’…Acceptance of Jesus is the one theological permutation [alteration] that Jews of all persuasions find unacceptable." (Everest: Israel the Chosen, p. 319, from Commentary Magazine, Milton Himmelfarb, Aug., 1996)
What the Jews of today don’t believe is their one tenet of belief! The entire sum of Jewry (and not just in the U. S.), except for those few who are Messianic, is united by this One Man—Yeshua—united in their rejection of Him as Lord.
For sure, He does get their attention. How? When any of their fellow Jews acknowledge and accept Him, they are dismayed…and the fellow Jewish person who accepts Yeshua is rejected. A Jew who becomes Hindu or who is an atheist or agnostic or Communist is still considered a Jew. But not one who has accepted and is following Yeshua. No, no.
So the Jewish world is united by this one factor.
This makes the Jewish world vulnerable--vulnerable to a leader who might arise in today’s world--to one who shows insight, charisma, who is a unifier, with the ability to unite Jews of varying life styles and persuasions. He would possess a seemingly miraculous ability to accomplish great feats--achieving what no other modern leader has been able to accomplish. The Jewish world could be fooled into giving him their full allegiance.
I speak of the coming anti-Christ.
In rejecting Yeshua as they have, they stand in an exceedingly dangerous position. For this man—the anti-Christ--would not be a holy man, though he might at first seem like one. He would be bold, presumptuous and profane. Besides that, he would amaze the world with his accomplishments. And eventually, he would turn with fury against the Jewish people.
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But turning back to the yearning for “the Great One”-- the Messiah whose coming is prophesied in the Tanakh (Old Testament)-- notice this prayer in a popular modern Jewish prayer book expressing the longing for the great Messiah to come.
May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our fathers,
That as we have merited to witness the beginning of redemption,
So may we merit to hear the sound of the shofar
Of our righteous holy one swiftly in our days.
(The Koren Siddur)
This is a prayer of petition for the appearance of the Messiah. This prayer and its longing are derived from the promise of the prophets.
(Special Note: the second line of this prayer shows that the modern return of the Jews to their land is seen as “the beginning of redemption.”)
Some Jews in Europe and Russia at the turn of the 20th century and Russia believed that the Austrian journalist, Theodore Herzl, was just this man--the very looked-for Messiah. Crowds of Jews in Eastern Europe hailed his arrival on his visits, many suggesting that he was the Messiah for whom they waited. Why? Because he was charismatic, intelligent and made it his career to travel throughout Europe attempting to persuade Europe’s leaders to make happen the Jewish return to the Holy Land.
But he died in 1904. Perhaps that was Providential. God did not want His Chosen People to confer too much honor upon Herzl. At age 44, he passed away.
And so, the observant Jews of the world, and especially those in Israel, are waiting.
When I was in Jerusalem, I spoke to merchants, waitresses and taxi drivers about the Messiah. “Do you believe in the coming of your Messiah?” The majority—nine of twelve—answered “yes,” some enthusiastically.
Netanyahu would not completely satisfy. Nor would any other candidate in Israel. Of course not. I suppose it gives one pause to be a leader when, in the back of their minds, the people are looking and longing for someone glorious.
The leader of glory and power is described in Isaiah 9:6:
“And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,” – one who gives wise counsel..."
And you know the rest.
“I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and
make your name great…and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
-- Genesis 12:2-3 (ESV)
“Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion,
Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem.”
-- Isaiah 52:1 (ESV)
You’ve heard it often: the State of Israel is a miracle. And it’s true.
After its independence, the tiny nation had to absorb 2 million refugees from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East who were fleeing persecution and losing all or most of their possessions in the process.
The new nation was struggling economically, and all goods were rationed.
But now that Israel has grown and developed and become like a teen-ager who has become an adult, look what this nation is doing, not just for itself, but for the world.
What a blessing they’ve become!
An Ideal Mix: Intelligence and Benevolence…..Smarts & Kindness--that is Modern Israel. Here are just a few examples….
Israel Is Advanced in Military Technology
She HAS to be. She is criticized from without and within for having a strong military. (Some Zionist thinkers are highly critical. They contend that if Israel has to defend herself with firepower, she should not be a nation with land.) But my point is this: Israel has been instrumental in the updating of America’s defense technology. Seth Cropsey, senior fellow at Hudson Institute and Harry Halem, research assistant, say that “Israel is a test-bed for front-line military technology and tactics,” and thus has improved U. S. technology in this field.
Israel is Smart…
Israel is Generous.
Am I glorifying Israel too much?
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Those who have read much of my writings know that my assessment of things Jewish is NOT always good. Their observances are in the forefront of their religion. Not God Himself. A “personal relationship” with the Lord, such as David had, are strange to them.
And is Israel the “light to the nations” as many Jewish leaders claim? I don’t believe so. Why? Because their unbelief is a barrier to the light. They close their eyes to the Messiah Who is the light of the world. Christ (the Messiah) is the light. (“He who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.")
Yet, they ARE the Chosen; and some of them do have regard for the ancient covenant with the God of Abraham and Moses. That is worthy of notice, and their obvious concern for their neighbors throughout the world is an indication of better things to come in their connection to the Lord their God. In this, I believe I am right.
What do you think?
Modern Israel began with a very small area of land allotted by the U.N. in 1947. Then the surrounding nations went after Israel, declaring war—5 nations against 1—with populations and military machines much larger than Israel’s. But Israel’s forces decisively defeated the Arab Muslim armies, and in the process Israel actually gained land.
A similar scenario happened 19 years later. In another attempt to “wipe Israel off the map, the armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq were defeated. Israel again gains land. The land is the familiar biblical areas of Galilee, Judea and eastern Jerusalem. This time Israel was stunned and didn’t know what to do with it. Israel’s generals and politicians were immediately ready to return much of it. However, the Arab nations refuse to even talk to Israel….at all. They refuse to sit in the same room with Jews. Self-defeating enmity.
And…. Israel still argues about what to do with it! Most world leaders insist that Israel must return it all—“go back to the boundaries of 1967,” they insist. “It belongs to the Palestinians and must be returned,” is their solution to the tension in Palestine. Some Israelis used to agree, but of late, not so. Why? Because the Palestinians have shown themselves to be fiercely intransigent.
The section of the land which Israel did give back to the Palestinians—Gaza—was turned into an armed camp from which tens of thousands of rockets have been launched against southern Israel.
Now, the land taken in two defensive wars is increasingly being settled by Israeli citizens, although certain well-defined sections include large Palestinian populations. It all is divided between Areas A, B, and C. with some ruled by the Palestinian Authority and some by Israel. Israeli “settlers” began the build-up there, and it has become a beautiful and well-developed area.
All right: so two wars have resulted in two major areas of land added to the portion being a part of modern Israel. The ancient homeland is now becoming the modern homeland, growing in both population and in land ownership.
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Just this week, even as I write, the news agencies are reporting that a major foreign policy move has been made by President Trump. No more is America leaving even a small residue of soldiers in the Middle East. Out come our troops from northern Syria. Rushing In are the troops from Turkey. Other countries will make their moves—Iran to increase its power base. And Russia the bear is likewise looking on with an appetite for power.
America is losing her power there.
The influence of a Christian Britain didn’t last long after Britain sponsored the Zionist enterprise. But then America took up the cause and became influential in Israel’s statehood. Now, after one hundred years of Anglo-Saxon-American influence in that area, one hundred years of close alignment with the chosen people and their land, the area is losing American military aid, and the ominous picture is one of ambitious tyrants ready to pounce on The Chosen.
The probability is that Israel will have to go to war again. In fact, a recent article in The Wall Street Journal states that Iran and Israel are already in what has to be called a war; and Iran’s continual threats repeat what all the nations around Israel said in 1947-48. They repeat what Egypt’s Nasser and his cohorts threatened in 1967--Israel’s annihilation. The cultures of Israel’s surrounding neighbors, even though they may have some agreements with Israel, remain inflated with anti-Semitic bombast. It is taught to the children and reinforced continually in broadcasts and telecasts and in celebrations of the murders of Israeli citizens. Don’t be fooled: these nations are not friends of Israel.
As I’ve written before, the whole area is being militarized by Iran and its allies and its proxies: Hizbollah, Hamas, the Houthis and others.
Now….here is my point: if Israel is forced to resort to warfare once again, it just may be that they will once again emerge from that future war with more territory. Syria is fragmented and Lebanon is controlled by Hizbollah. A future war could result in extending modern Israel’s borders into these two countries.
If the past gives us any indication of what the future holds, it may just be that God is not through enlarging the tents of Abraham’s descendants. Do you think this is far-fetched?
When Israel long ago became out of favor with the Lord, He empowered the enemies of Israel to chip off sections of the sacred land. But since, in our time, He has been drawing in His people from the ends of the earth, He has not only given them the victory over their enemies but has given them additional land through their victories.
If this happens again, would it be unfair? If we are entering God in to this equation, who are we to question His acts? But consider: Israel has done nothing but favors in the past few decades to other nations who have needed their assistance. Israel is a positive influence.
In my next blog, I intend to follow through and give examples of how Israel is being a helper to other nations. And the type of aid they are giving is welcomed by those needy nations.
1. Axiom: God is lord of the land of Israel.
2. Corollary: God uses the enemies of Israel. He hardens their hearts just as He hardened the heart of ancient Pharoah. Is that unbelievable to you, dear reader?
3. Corollary: God uses the evil purposes of sinful men and women to bring glory to His name and cause and blessings to His people.
Obviously, Israel is not having an easy time of it. She is hurrying to develop new military technology to fend off—protect herself—from the encircling powers.
Watch and pray.
An admonition to Israel:
“Look to the rock from which you are hewn,
And to the quarry from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your father
And to Sarah who bore you….
Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
The people whose heart is my law:
Fear not the reproach of man,
Nor be dismayed at their revilings….
I am the Lord your God
Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar--
The Lord of hosts is his name.”
-- Isaiah 51:1-2, 7, 15 (ESV)
DEFINITION OF DEMOGRAPHY: Population numbers and the vital statistics within that population (like within certain age ranges).
CAUTION: Don’t confuse “Demography” with “Democracy”
1948: THE BEGINNING OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL: Israel’s founders wanted a Jewish state. O. K. And….they also wanted a democracy.
That was a problem. Guess why? They knew they would be inclusive…they would include the Palestinians who were also living there. But what if the Palestinians had more people than the Israelis did? Then, it wouldn’t be a Jewish state, because the Jews could easily be outvoted by the Palestinians.
Therefore, they needed to have more voters than the Palestinians—more people eligible to vote in order to have Jewish laws, Jewish holidays and unlimited Jewish immigration.
Solution #1: Give up the sections of the land that had a lot more Palestinians than Jews. Give up part of the land that the United Nations Plan was allotting them. The response to that solution: “NO! Not on your life.”
Solution #2: Expel some of the Palestinians presently living there. The response to that solution: “Very definitely NO! Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, in writing to his son, dated October, 1937, said: “We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their place….there is enough room for ourselves and the Arabs in Palestine.”
Solution #3: THE BEST solution: get more Jews into that new Israeli State so that it would have a Jewish majority. If it were going to be a Zionist, Jewish state, there would have to be more Jews than all other nationalities combined. Right? Right.
So…get more Jews in there! Promote immigration to Israel!
O. K….there was the challenge! The first challenge had been to acquire the land. Both the League of Nations in 1922 and later, the United Nations in 1947 voted to allot part of Palestine to the Jews. So, the Jews had their place; but they needed more people.
Many had warned that a Jewish nation was nothing more than a fanciful dream, because when the Zionist Congress convened at the turn of the 20th century, there were only one hundred thousand Jews in the land.
Plus, about fifty years later, at the beginning of the new state, the warnings by demographers continued predicting doom. Why? Because Arab birthrates were far higher among the Arabs than the Israelis. Arab families were much larger.
But two waves of Jewish immigration occurred in the years after Israel became a state in 1948.
1. First, as soon as the Israelis declared their independence in 1948, the North African nations (Egypt, Libya, Moracco, etc.) expelled all their Jews, confiscating all their possessions. That increased Israel’s population by around 500,000--with a branch of Jews and Judaism (the Mizrahi) that boasted a high birthrate. What a blessing!
But decade after decade the skeptics proclaimed a demographic disaster on the horizon: not enough Israelis to hold onto the land! We’d better….the Israelis had better… give up a large section of their land, because the number of Arab/Palestinians are overtaking us!
“Demographic disaster is at hand!”
A pessimistic study by an Israeli Haifa University professor was cited by journalists and liberal politicians as they urged Israel to give up land. “Give it up!” they cried. “The Arabs will soon be in the majority!”
Many Israeli Jews as well as Jews abroad were adamant--Israel—so small—would have to give back all of Judea and Samaria which was dumped in their laps at the end of the Six-Day War of 1967.
2. But, the second major immigration of Jewish people came from Russia following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s. That added more than a million Jews to the Israeli fold. Wow!
Still, the skeptics were not through. Neither was Yassir Arafat, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization who declared: We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion.
Arafat considered the wombs of Arab women as his secret “demographic bomb.”
But, a dramatic sea change has startled those who are informed:
The Turn of the Millenium
Something has happened to the Israeli populace as well as to the Palestinians—in their birth rates--an utterly dramatic change in a relatively short period of time!
In 2,000, for each Arab child born in Israel there were two Jewish children: a ratio of 2/1.
In 2010, for each Arab child born in Israel there were three Jewish children: a ratio of 3/1.
In 2020, two years from now, if current trends hold, for every Arab child born in Israel there will be four Jewish children: a ratio of 4/1.
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“The word of the Lord of hosts came to me saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem….Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets. Thus says the Lord of hosts: even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the Lord of hosts?....I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to live in Jerusalem. They shall be my people, and I shall be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.” Zechariah 8:1-3a,4b-8 (NRSV)