Written in April 2019
At the beginning of 2019 Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies gave an annual report saying a multi-front war on Israel’s northern and southern borders, involving Syria, Lebanon and Gaza, is a very real possibility. That possibility came nearer after rockets were fired from Gaza into central Israel, one of which destroyed a house north of Tel Aviv, on March 25th. Iran is reported to have given the order to Islamic Jihad in Gaza to fire the missile in order to disrupt Israel’s election process. Israel then destroyed targets connected to Hamas and terror groups in Gaza and an Iranian base in Syria near to Aleppo. At the time of writing an uneasy ceasefire holds in Gaza, while the threat of more provocation remains and Iran warns of military confrontation. This is a reminder of the threat to Israel from enemies to the north and south. But this is not the only story to come out of Israel.
Good news from Israel.
Israeli medical experts are working on a cure for cancer without needing harmful chemotherapy treatment. They have developed a host of treatments to help those suffering from diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s. Israeli doctors treat children from Arab countries suffering from heart conditions free of charge, with the help of the Christian charity Shevet Achim. During the Syrian civil war Israel set up ‘Operation Good Neighbour’ opening its northern border to wounded and traumatised Syrians who were given medical and psychological help.
Israel is among the top 10 countries in longevity, with an average lifespan of 82.5 as of 2016, despite it being constantly facing a war situation. Its good health is attributed to a healthy diet, a positive attitude to life and excellent health care available to all citizens from the cradle to the grave.
Israel has made the desert bloom in its own arid regions by developing ‘micro-irrigation’ which drips in just enough water to keep the soil moist, enabling crops to grow in areas where there is very low rainfall. It has now exported this technology to countries around the world, making life giving water available to some of the poorest people on earth and enabling food to be grown in arid lands. The Israeli company ‘Watergen’ has invented a portable machine which can create water from thin air, by turning water vapour into drinking water, now available in areas of the world where fresh water is a problem.
When earthquakes and disasters strike Israel is among the first nations to offer help, flying out their expert rescue services to save lives and the environment. Israel even offered to help Iran fix its water problems. The mullahs refused any help from the hated Zionists, condemning the Iranian people to more misery in the hopeless economic and social mess which they have made of the country.
Israeli companies have been in the forefront of developing the technology that powers the world’s computers, emails, anti-virus systems, mobile phones, Internet search engines and on and on. We have produced a leaflet ‘So you want to boycott Israel?’ (available on request) which gives a list of things that benefit humanity.
Tiny Israel, surrounded by hostile nations, having to fight wars and terrorist attacks, has produced an extraordinary amount of creative and helpful things to benefit humanity. Their enemies who call for Israel’s destruction produce absolutely nothing that is of any use to the world, only terror, war, missiles and dictatorships, in which most of their victims are their own fellow citizens.
Bad news from Israel.
Did you hear about any of these creative things coming out of Israel on the news? I thought not. What you will have seen is images of conflict, terror and war. Most of the blame for this falls on Israel, not on those who provoke Israel with terror, missiles and threats.
Recently we had a meeting at which Israeli journalist Ben Dror Yemini spoke on the ‘Demonisation of Israel.’ He cited some of the blatant lies which are being circulated around the world and cause people to hate Israel. For example: ‘Israel is an Apartheid state’, ‘Israel practices ethnic cleansing / genocide against the Palestinian people’, ‘the oppression of the Palestinian people is the major cause of violence in the world’.
He called this the ‘industry of lies’ which denies the reality of what is happening in the land. Israeli Arabs do not suffer from an Apartheid regime, but have full rights as citizens of Israel, go to Israeli universities, participate in society at all levels, including the judiciary and diplomatic service. It is true that there is a barrier between Jewish and Arab areas in the West Bank, but this was not Israel’s intended outcome of the peace process, when they signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. For the first seven years of this process from 1993 to 2000, Arabs from the West Bank could cross into Israel and Israelis went into their areas. Then Israeli Prime Minister Barak offered Yasser Arafat a peace deal comprising most of what the Palestinians asked for, except the Jewish part of the Old City of Jerusalem. Arafat refused, and then unleashed the Intifada bringing terror and death to Israelis. Around 25,000 attacks took place between 2000 and 2006, causing the death of over 1000 Israelis and 8000 injured. To defend itself against this terror Israel built the barrier called the Apartheid Wall by Israel’s enemies.
Israel’s wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973 have been defensive wars in which the Jewish state had to fight off much larger Arab armies whose leaders were openly calling for Israel’s destruction and a massacre of the Jews. Every casualty in war is one too many, but the numbers of those killed in the whole period from 1948 to the present is quite small compared to other global conflicts (around 40,000 Arabs and around 25,000 Jews). Compare this with the India – Pakistan partition (1-2 million killed around 14 million displaced), the Korean War (around 2.5 million killed), the war in Congo (around 5.4 million killed). Other Middle East conflicts have caused a much higher casualty rate, and are the result of different Arab / Muslim groups fighting each other, not the conflict with Israel. For example, the Iran – Iraq war in which over one million died, the Syrian civil war in which around 500,000 have died and 13 million displaced from their homes. Israel had no part in these conflicts which produced vastly more victims than Israel’s wars.
Israel has never called for the ethnic cleansing of Arabs. The IDF has always taken care to keep civilian casualties in conflict situations down to a minimum. In the War of Independence in 1948 the Jewish inhabitants of Haifa called on their Arab neighbours to stay and help build up the state of Israel. The Arab High Command broadcast radio messages telling them to leave so they would not be in the way as the Arab armies overran the Jewish state. Then they could return and take the Jews’ homes as well as their own. The Arab armies failed to destroy Israel, so the people who fled became the Palestinian refugees, kept as a propaganda tool to be used against Israel, rather than being integrated into the places they fled to. At the same time, an equal number of Jewish refugees had to leave Arab lands and were successfully integrated into the State of Israel.
The UN has become a hotbed of anti-Israel propaganda. In 1975 the Muslim and Communist nations in the world came together to adopt the UN’s infamous ‘Zionism is Racism’ resolution, condemning the national liberation movement of the Jewish people as racist. Since then Israel has become the victim of extraordinary bias in the chambers of the UN. From 2012 to 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted 97 resolutions criticising individual countries; 83 of which were against Israel (86%). From 2006 through to 2016, the UN Human Rights Council adopted 135 resolutions criticising specific countries; 68 out of those 135 have been against Israel (slightly more than 50%). 100% of all country specific resolutions made by UNESCO are against Israel. This bias overlooks heinous crimes against humanity carried out in countries like Sudan, North Korea, Iran and Congo. It ignores Palestinian terror attacks on Israel, while condemning Israel for taking measures to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism.
In Europe and North America the BDS movement (Boycott, Disvestment and Sanctions) is trying to bring about a boycott of Israeli goods and so bring Israel to its knees economically. An alliance of leftist and Islamic forces is spreading anti-Zionist propaganda in universities, the media and political circles. It uses the kind of propaganda which comes out of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas which is not just anti-Zionist but also blatantly anti-Semitic. Such influences are the reason for the anti-Semitism row that has broken out in the Labour Party, since the Marxist Momentum group has taken virtual control of the party. The EU is consistently hostile to Israel and sympathetic to its enemies, especially in its foreign ministry, led by Federica Mogherini, a former youth leader of the Italian Communist Party.
While Israel is being demonised in the West, its enemies in the region are calling for its destruction. Hezbollah has virtually taken over the Lebanese government and has some 150,000 missiles aimed at Israel and supplied by Iran. Its anti-Semitic nature came out in this quote from its leader Hassan Nasrallah: ‘If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice I do not say ‘the Israeli.’’
Since the Palestinian Authority was established it has systematically indoctrinated young and old to hate Israelis and Jews through its media, education, and culture. It presents Jews as treacherous, corrupt, deceitful and unfaithful by nature and a danger to Palestinians, Arabs, and all humanity. Forgeries and fiction masquerading as history are used to document and support the libel that Judaism is in essence racist and evil. Jews are said to be planning and executing heinous crimes, including burning Palestinians in ovens, murder, using prisoners for Nazi-like experiments, and more. They say these crimes constitute a mortal danger, not only to all Muslims and Arabs but to all of humanity. The Palestinian Authority repackages Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda and allows copies of Hitler’s Mein Kampf in Arabic to be sold openly on market stalls.
While the Palestinian Authority (PA) is supposed to be working on a peace programme with Israel, it is clear from what it says to its own people that it intends to use land Israel withdraws from, to set up a Palestinian State as a springboard from which to destroy Israel. Although it hides this fact from the western world, it states it openly when speaking in Arabic to its own people. Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki reiterated this position on Al-Jazeera TV saying ‘Israel will come to an end’ and ‘I want to remove it from existence’. He then said he could not say this openly to the world (because the PA is supposed to be working for a peace settlement with Israel) but ‘You can say it to yourself.’ [Al-Jazeera TV, Sept. 23, 2011]
Iran is trying to establish a land bridge through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon in order to embed its forces in Syria and export its missiles into Lebanon with the aim of destroying Israel. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander Hossein Salami said ‘Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map.’ In addition, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that the, ‘the Zionist regime will perish in the not so far future.’ Iran has threatened specifically to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa. Most of the world, especially the EU, has no problem with Iran’s murderous intentions, but criticise Israel’s attempts to defend itself from Iranian aggression.
All of this feeds into the anti-Zionist movement in the west, which also becomes anti-Semitic as it brings together Islamic and left-wing groups opposed to Israel and the Jewish people. The aim of all these groups is the elimination of Israel.
God sees things differently.
Those who believe in Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state in the Middle East will no doubt be dismayed to read this. However we should not be surprised and we should understand that there is hope for Israel in the future. While the enemies curse Israel and seek her destruction, God says to Israel:
I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Jeremiah 31.3-4.
The current regathering of Israel is a fulfilment of prophecies given in the Word of God centuries ago, which promise to regather the Jewish people from the ends of the earth to the land of Israel in the latter days of this age. For example:
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgements and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36.24-28
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’ Jeremiah 31.10
Because God is involved in this we should not be surprised that the antichrist forces in the world today are opposed to it. The most vociferous anti-Zionist forces are influenced by Marxism and radical Islam. These are also the most anti-Christian influences in the world today. God anticipated the hatred of Israel’s enemies and their attempts to destroy the nation in words in Psalm 83 that have almost been quoted directly by enemies of Israel:
Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. For, behold, Your enemies make an uproar; and those who hate You have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.’ For they have conspired together with one mind; against You do they make a covenant. Psalm 83.1-5.
God promised to Abraham and his descendants: ‘I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ Genesis 12. Significantly the countries that curse Israel are the most miserable places on earth to live in. They are full of corruption, conflict, violence, and chronic misrule, like Iran, Syria, Sudan, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority. As Europe and western nations become more and more anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic they too become increasingly unpleasant places to live in, racked by strife and division and a collapse of moral values and decency.
The Bible does speak of a time of trouble for Israel in the last days of this age:
‘For thus says the Lord: We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask now and see whether a man is ever in labour with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labour and all faces turned pale! Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30.4-7.See also Ezekiel 38-9, Daniel 12, Joel 2-3, Zechariah 12-14, Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Revelation 6-19.
This corresponds to passages in the New Testament about the time of tribulation for the end times before the return of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus said
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for theelect’s sake those days will be shortened. Matthew 24.21-2.
At this time God will speak to the Jewish people about the Messiah. At the end time Jerusalem will be a ‘burdensome stone’ for all nations (Zechariah 12.2-3) meaning it will be a subject of concern for the whole world. God then says, ‘
I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son. (Zechariah 12.10)
The one who has been pierced is Yeshua Jesus the Messiah who was wounded for our transgressions and on whom ‘the Lord has laid the iniquity of us all’ (Isaiah 53). Many will recognise the mistake they have made about Yeshua, Jesus as the Messiah and turn to Him in repentance and faith.
At the end of days God will bring the nations to the ‘Valley of Jehoshaphat’ (which means ‘the Lord judges’) for the last battle:
Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. … For their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. The Lord also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the Lord will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Joel 3.14-17
There He will enter into judgement with the nations ‘because they have divided up my land’ (Joel 3.2). Then the Messiah will return and reign on earth from restored Jerusalem bringing peace and justice to the world. He has already come once before as the Servant of Isaiah 53, to suffer and die for our sins in the person of Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah. He is coming back to judge the world in righteousness and to set up His Messianic kingdom from Jerusalem, ruling the world in peace and justice. He is the only hope for Israel and the world. In a world that is going further and further into the darkness we need to come to the light of His word and the truth of the Yeshua the Messiah.
God loves Israel and sees a glorious future for her in the coming reign of the Messiah:
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60.1-3.
For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. Isaiah 62.1