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Israel & Christians Today: Weekly Update (May 31)

Andrew Tucker - 31 May 2019

God’s ways are not man’s ways. He never ceases to surprise us. Just when we think we have got it right, He intervenes to turn our well-made plans into hopeless dreams.

This week, Israel descended into political chaos. Despite a clear win in the April elections, Prime Minister Netanyahu failed to form a coalition within the time frame required under Israeli law. Instead of referring the matter back to the President, who could have asked another party to form a coalition, Netanyahu chose to allow the Knesset to be dissolved, and called for new elections.

As Times of Israel has reported:
“In a shocking turn of events for the longtime leader, Netanyahu failed to muster a majority coalition in the 120-seat Knesset by the Wednesday midnight deadline, due to an impasse between the secular and ultra- Orthodox members of his would-be coalition over a contentious draft law.

The standoff between the ultra-Orthodox parties and Avigdor Liberman, an ally-turned-rival who leads the secular Yisrael Beytenu party, sunk Netanyahu’s efforts to form a government in the allotted 42 days. Liberman insisted that the draft law pass unchanged; the ultra- Orthodox parties rejected this, and Netanyahu blamed Liberman for the unbreakable deadlock.”

The dispute between Netanyahu and Liberman concerned the latter’s demand that a law be passed requiring ultra-Orthodox to be drafted to the IDF, the Israeli army. Netanyahu refused to comply.

This crisis comes at a time when Netanyahu is likely to be indicted for serious crimes. The Israeli Attorney-General decided several weeks ago to indict Netanyahu for fraud and breach of trust. In recent weeks the Prime Minister announced plans to seek the Knesset to take a decision granting him immunity. In addition it is understood that Netanyahu and his intended coalition partners had agreed that the incoming government will legislate a far-reaching constitutional change to curb the powers of the Supreme Court — giving Knesset members the authority to re- legislate laws that the court has struck down, and preventing the court from intervening in administrative decisions. Senior Likud party members and several leading current and former ministers, including Benny Begin and Dan Meridor, reacted in outrage at these reports. Of course now that new elections have been called such a law will not be passed in the foreseeable future. Netanyahu’s political future is now very uncertain indeed.

This new situation is likely to have a major impact on President Trump’s “deal of the century”. Trump was planning on having Netanyahu’s support for his plan. It is now highly questionable whether Trump will get the “buy-in” from regional leaders, including Israel, that will be critical for the plan to succeed.

At times like these, it is important to remember the bigger picture. We must never forget that God’s purpose in bringing the Jewish people back to the land is to glorify His name amongst the nations. Everything He does is directed to achieving that goal. Jews and Gentiles alike need to learn to submit to His authority. Those who reject His purposes or seek their own glory He will spit out.

Ezekiel 26: 21-27 reads:

“I had concern for my holy name, which the people of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone. Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes. For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

When one looks at the current situation in Israel, one could be tempted to ask: “where is the new spirit that God promised to put in the Jewish people? Why are the Jewish people not following God’s decrees and keeping his laws?”

Perhaps our most important tasks at this time are to:
a. examine ourselves, and repent of our own pride and failure to observe God’s laws;
b. remind God of His promises; and
c. intercede on behalf of the Jewish people, and all who live in the land.

Let us pray that the Jewish people, their leaders in particular, will receive a fresh revelation of God’s purposes, and a deep desire to do His will. Let us pray that this political crisis will lead to a spiritual renewal. Like all of us, perhaps it is through crisis that the Jewish people will be led to re-examine themselves, to realise that they cannot realise their dreams through their own strength or plans, and to search more intently to understand the will of their God and creator.

May the Lord God of Israel have mercy on us all.


Further reading about the current political crisis in Israel:

https://www.timesofisrael.com/second-times-the-charm-9-things-to-know-for-may-31/

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