Light for the Last Days

From our Israel Desk

Biden signs ‘Jerusalem Declaration’

On his visit to the Middle East US President Joe Biden signed a joint strategic declaration with Prime Minister Yair Lapid on 14 July in Jerusalem, in which the US vowed to use “all elements in its national power” to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

“The United States stresses that integral to this pledge is the commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and that it is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome,”

reads the text of the statement, officially known as the Jerusalem US-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration. 

“The United States further affirms the commitment to work together with other partners to confront Iran’s aggression and destabilizing activities, whether advanced directly or through proxies and terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,”

the communique stated.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the two countries “commit to continuing to discuss the challenges and opportunities in Israeli-Palestinian relations,” and condemn Hamas and recent terrorist attacks.  However, notably only Biden “affirms his longstanding and consistent support of a two-state solution and for advancing toward a reality in which Israelis and Palestinians alike can enjoy equal measures of security, freedom and prosperity.”

Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to deepen ties with Iran amid the Ukraine conflict represents a “profound threat,” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said.  Sullivan’s comments come as US officials have said Iran is preparing to help supply Russia several hundred drones, including some that are weapons-capable, to use in Ukraine. Sullivan called the timing of Putin’s upcoming trip to Iran “interesting, saying” “Russia deepening an alliance with Iran is something that the whole world should look at and see as a profound threat.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned on Wednesday that US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel will “only destabilize the entire region.” Raisi said that

“if the visits by the senior US officials in the region are meant to bolster the Zionist regime and bring about normalization then those efforts will not bring security for the Zionists in any way, shape of form.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

Peace with Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to Israeli aircraft on 15 July as the first signs of a normalisation process between Jerusalem and Riyadh appeared to take shape.  This came amidst hopes of a peace deal with Saudi Arabia and opening up of trade and diplomatic relations.

| The Times of Israel

Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman expressed his hopes that the visit by President Biden to the region will lead to a common Middle East market that includes Saudi Arabia.  He said,

“It is time to create a new common market of the Middle East common to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.  All countries must be connected by a cross-eastern road, a railway, and a highway. This is the great challenge that will change the reality here from end to end, both in the security field and in the economic field.”

Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to bring full peace agreements with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries if he wins Israel’s upcoming election. Netanyahu said:

“I would like to express my appreciation to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, for his contribution to the achievement of the four historic peace agreements we have brought – the ‘Abraham Accords.'”

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

While Netanyahu’s return to power is far from a certainty, it does show the desire of Israeli leaders to expand the peace agreements that have begun with several Arab nations through the ‘Abraham Accords’ – regardless of who might win the upcoming elections.

Peace with Saudi Arabia, the heart of the Sunni Muslim world would be an amazing turn of events after continuous wars since Israel’s creation.  Some would call such a peace agreement even ‘prophetic’. 

Prophecy teachers have long said that one of the single most important prophetic events to watch for as an indication of the start of the ‘tribulation period’ is the signing / ratifying of a seven year peace accord between Israel and many nations.  Daniel 9:27 warns us that this specific prophetic period of time will begin when

He will confirm a covenant with many for one week [seven years].’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him

Daniel 9.27

The person described as ‘he’ here is the coming antichrist who brings the “abomination that causes desolation” (Matthew 24:15) and is called “the beast” in Revelation 13. This Antichrist figure will be a world leader with influence / control over 10 leaders or 10 regions and be a key player in bringing about or ratifying/expanding current treaties.

The Antichrist series – LftLD

He will break this covenant / agreement for peace half way through, putting a stop to sacrifice in the rebuilt Jewish temple and declaring himself God (abomination of desolation).  A key component of this peace agreement appears to be a rebuilt Jewish temple.  

Could a future peace agreement provide for such a temple? It is hard to see the Muslim world ever agreeing to a Jewish temple near the Dome of the Rock, however if Saudi Arabia was to sign a treaty with Israel a religious component would make sense as it represents the centre of Islam.  Should Saudi Arabia sign, countless other Arab nations could follow, thus the “many” reference in Daniel.  

Saudi Arabia has also made clear in the past they would not agree to any peace deal until the Palestinian issue was solved. The Bible indicates that a feature of the last days will be a false sense of security in Israel that “peace and safety” has finally been achieved in the Middle East. It also makes sense that such a significant treaty would have the backing of world powers to ‘confirm’ or ‘guarantee’ such a treaty. 

This recent statement by Netanyahu reminds us of this desire to one day reach a final peace accord. Ironically, Shiite Iran’s push for a nuclear weapon is speeding up the timetable for Saudi Arabia, Israel and other nations to come to some type of rapprochement in an effort to counter Iran’s power. 

Whether the famous battle of Ezekiel 38 will happen before or after the start of this Tribulation period begins remains to be seen…. but it appears the two events will be prophetically interlinked.

Russia shuts down Jewish Agency

Russia has ordered the Jewish Agency to cease all operations inside the country, according to a report by The Jerusalem Post. The move comes amid tensions centred on Israel’s criticism of Russia’s war in Ukraine and ongoing Israeli strikes against Iranian assets in Syria–where Moscow remains the dominant military player.

The Jerusalem Post

The Jewish Agency’s primary function is to promote and facilitate Jewish immigration to Israel and, as such, the report said Russia’s “dramatic” decision could prevent Jews from making Aliyah. 

“People from the Jewish community have been feeling the Iron Curtain setting on them and they fear they won’t be able to escape the country,”

The Jerusalem Post

the report quoted senior sources in Russia’s Jewish community as saying.

“A number of Jews have said that the Russian authorities are trying to arrest them and that they fear for their lives,”

Unnamed source

one unnamed person reportedly said.

The Russian government issued the order in a letter sent to the Jewish Agency. Agency officials, in coordination with the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry, are reportedly in the process of formulating a response.

UK government targets ultra Orthodox (Charedi) schools

The UK government has finally set the wheels in motion for the regulation of yeshivot (Jewish study centres). More than a thousand Charedi boys aged 13 and above in the ultra Orthodox Jewish area of Stamford Hill, London, are estimated to be currently learning in institutions which are beyond the reach of state scrutiny. But in a response to a recent consultation, the Department for Education reaffirmed its commitment to change the law.

February 2019 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

At the moment Yeshivot do not count as schools as they only offer a narrow religious curriculum and so are exempt from registration with the DfE and they are not subject to Ofsted visits.  Nevertheless they are the only place of education for school age boys and therefore that loophole will now be closed, enabling them to be inspected in the same way that independent schools are. That is likely to increase tensions with the Charedi community that already regards Ofsted as over-intrusive and often unsympathetic to its way of life.

Charedi representatives opposed any intervention, arguing there were

“irreconcilable differences between what was required to be taught in independent schools and what the Orthodox Jewish community would consider acceptable”.

Ultra-Orthodox representatives

Forcing yeshivot to become registered will mean they will have to introduce some modicum of secular education for children aged 16 and under. Not only that, they will also become subject to the same requirement that has led to a protracted dispute between Charedi independent schools and the state: to give sex education that affirms LGBT people. Charedi leaders warn this is part of an agenda “to destroy the way of life” of their community.  Some have said they will leave the country rather than submit to this.

jewishvirtuallibrary.org

How effective the government’s attempt to regulate yeshivoth will be remains to be seen, as will be the extent of Charedi opposition. The centenarian yeshivah head, Rabbi Elyakim Schlesinger, who is one of the leading conservative voices in Stamford Hill, made it clear this week:

“No power in the world shall compel us to abolish or change the form of the holy yeshivahs and the current manner how the studies are being conducted.”

Rabbi Elyakim Schlesinger
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Community in Israel: Facts and Figures

Tony Pearce

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