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Israel & Christians Today: Weekly Update (March 1)

Andrew Tucker - 1 March 2019

Israel – a country in search of its identity

“This is what the sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and I will bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel.” (Ezekiel 37: 21-22)

Israel is in election mode. Everything in the country is focused at the moment on the fascinating political game as current and potential leaders jostle for position. In the weeks leading up to the elections (planned for early April), the Israeli political landscape is shaking. New political parties are being established, old alliances are collapsing.

The position of Prime Minister Netanyahu – who has led four governments and has been PM since 2009 – is uncertain. Today the Israeli Attorney General announced he intends to indict Netanyahu on corruption charges that have been hanging over his head for several years.

But something deeper is happening. A fundamental shift seems to be going on at many levels within Israeli society. Seventy years after the creation of the State of Israel, and 25 years since the failed Oslo agreements, Israel may be the most successful economy in the world, but there are many internal problems, and its existence as a Jewish state is still being threatened.

I sense that Israel is entering into a new era. It is significant, for example, that the Labor Party – which was responsible for the creation of the State of Israel, may disappear from the political scene altogether.

One senses Israel is going through something of an identity crisis. Themes that keep reappearing in the debate include: what does our Jewish identity really mean? And how do we reconcile the imperative of making peace with our neighbors, with the right to allow Jews to live in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria?

Of course, it is normal that Jews debate endlessly about these issues. They have done so for over 2000 years, and they will continue to do so.

But the world around them is changing, and the question is whether the new generation of Israeli leaders will be able to deal with those threats.

In all of this, as Christians we should be praying ever more fervently that the Spirit of God will guide the Jewish people into His ways, and that He will ensure that the people of Israel elect leaders who are grafted in the word of God and are able to lead the nation through the challenging days ahead.

In this week’s update:

  • National security vs. peace
  • The Trump Peace Plan
  • The threat of Islamic Jihad and Hamas
  • United Nations accuses Israel of crimes against humanity in Gaza

National security vs. peace
This article by Maj. Gen. Gershon Hacohen published by BESA gives interesting insight into the bitter debate within Israeli society between those who advocate making concessions to achieve peace with the Palestinians and Israel’s other neighbors, and those who emphasize Israel’s security.

According to the author, “proponents of concessions and withdrawals are traditionally cast as guided entirely by professional considerations, while opponents of such ideas are dismissed as driven by ulterior motives and political agendas. This presentation is not only false but the inverse of the truth.”

Read article..

 

The Trump Peace Plan

The long-awaited Trump Peace Plan has become one of the election issues. Trump has announced that the plan will not be released before the elections. Nathaniel Bennett, leader of New Right party, has called on Trump to release the plan prior to the elections.

The plan is likely to have huge repercussions on the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In a recent TV interview trump’s Middle East Adviser (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner indicated that part of the plan involves “establishing borders and resolving final status issues. The goal of resolving these borders is really to eliminate the borders. If you can eliminate borders and have peace and less fear of terror, you could have freer flow of goods, freer flow of people and that would create a lot more opportunities.”

The idea of removing borders is attractive, but is it realistic? It will be interesting to see whether the plan will take sufficient account of the anti-Israel sentiment in Palestinian society. At the end of the day, the international community must assure Israel that it respects Israel’s right to protect itself against attacks on its citizens.

Read article..

 

The threat of Islamic Jihad and Hamas

The very real and existential threat to Israel that is posed by Islamic Jihad and Hamas – and other groups like them – is amply demonstrated in this Gatestone article by Bassam Tawil, a scholar based in the Middle East:

Read article..

 

United Nations accuses Israel of crimes against humanity in Gaza

In a bizarre report published on Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights Council accuses Israel of killing children in the recent Gaza conflict. This is another example of one-sided reporting and discriminatory application of international law. The UNHRC is due to release more reports accusing Israel of breaches of international law on 18thMarch 2019.

Read article..

 

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Andrew Tucker is International Editor of our bi-monthly newspaper Israel & Christians Today. The goal of Israel & Christians Today is to help Christians to take God’s Word seriously, and study current events in the world in the context of the Bible. Click here to subscribe.

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