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Biblical understanding about Israel
The past two months (December 2014 and January 2015) have witnessed a number of very different yet significant events affecting Israel and the Jewish people. All of them should deeply concern Christians, as each in some way threatens the freedom Jews and Christians currently enjoy in Western society.
In late December, after months of speculation, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) initiated a UN Security Council resolution intended to force Israel to leave the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” (East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria). Drafted by France and sponsored by Jordan, the resolution was defeated – thanks to rejection of the proposal by USA and Australia, and a last-minute decision by Nigeria to abstain. The PLO promptly responded to this defeat by seeking formal accession to the International Criminal Court, whereby they intend to have Israeli leaders who sought to defend their citizens in Operation Protective Edge prosecuted for war crimes.
The ultimate goal of the PLO is clear – by means of international diplomacy, to delegitimize Israel as a national home for the Jewish people. The Palestinian Charter to this day states that the object of the PLO is to liberate all of Palestine from the Zionists – meaning the whole of the territories west of the River Jordan - ie. all of Israel plus the “occupied territories”. Adoption of the resolution would have effectively resulted in further measures to force the eviction of Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem and many other places in Judea and Samaria holy to the nation of Israel. It would also have meant a further step in the creation of (yet) another Islamic state in the region – in which neither Christians nor Jews (or any other infidels) will be welcome.
The ensuing weeks of January 2015 saw a wave of attacks by Islamic extremists in Europe, starting with the tragic attack in Paris on Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people were killed, and the siege of a Kosher supermarket resulting in the murder of four Jewish people, including the youngest son of the Chief Rabbi of Tunisia. These were followed by further incidents in France and Belgium. Across Europe, authorities are on red-alert for more incidents involving European born-and-bred jihadic warriors returning to Europe from the killing fields of Syria and othjer parts of the Middle East. Jewish synagogues and schools are under heavy surveillance. The attack on the Jewish supermarket was no accident. Radical Islam will accept neither infidels nor those who blaspheme the Prophet.
Finally, 27th January marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, ushering in our remembrance of the final months of World War II in Europe. That event marks the victory of freedom over tyranny and oppression – achieved at the cost of millions of lives of young men and women from nations across the globe. The survivors of the death camps - the remnant of the Jewish people that had almost been extinguished - rose from the ashes, and within only three years the Jewish State of Israel was established in May 1948. Today Israel is the only real democracy in a region dominated by tyranny and oppression. The liberation of Auschwitz stands as a memorial to the freedoms we enjoy today in Western societies.
Each of these events in a different way reflects an attack on the freedom to worship the God of the Jewish people. One senses that Europe is being shaken – spiritually, physically and morally.
Western society has lost its internal compass, it no longer knows why it exists or what it stands for. After the January attacks in Paris the streets and media were full of people shouting “liberté, fraternité, egalité”, and “Je suis Charlie”. Apparently this is the new religion in Europe, the one uniting force. The right to create hate-filled cartoons is apparently just as valuable as the right to live as a God-fearing Jew in Europe. No wonder so many Jews of France are considering leaving France.
In the hours following the horrific attacks in Paris there was barely a word about the four Jews who were killed not for what they did, but for who they were. That is not to justify the murder of the Charlie Hasbo journalists. But there is something fundamentally wrong when people can be killed in broad daylight simply because of their identity without a public outcry. The Paris massacre follows many fatal attacks on Jews in France and Belgium in recent months.
In Luke 11 Jesus tells a story about a house that is cleansed, only to be filled with seven worse spirits. “Every kingdom that is divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falls”. He could very well have been talking about Europe at the beginning of the 21st century. Is it possible that, cleansed ourselves of the Jews, our spiritual house has become filled with unclean spirits?
Many Jews in Europe are frightened. They face a difficult dilemma – to emigrate to Israel, or remain as citizens in the countries in which they have made their homes. In all likelihood we will see a new wave of aliyah from Europe in the coming months. That may well be a great blessing to Israel, but it will be a tragedy for Europe. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls is reported to have stated that “without the Jews, France is no longer France”. He is dead right. In fact Europe without its Jews will not be the same any more.
But it may be too late to turn the tide. The door of the house has been open for too long, the unclean spirits have made their home here.
Andrew Tucker is Executive Director of Christians for Israel International and Legal Counsel to the European Coalition for Israel.