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Weekly update: The dual mission of the Jewish people

Andrew Tucker - 13 September 2019

One of the fascinating aspects of the restoration of the Jewish people to the land is the way that Jews coming from so many different countries and traditions are being united in the land as one nation. It is a complex process that, from the outside, seems very chaotic.

Yet, as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has recently stated, “the future of the Jewish people depends on preserving our identity, mutual respect, and mutual recognition … As a Jewish and democratic State, Israel is essential for the survival of the Jewish people. In the same way, a thriving Jewish people, our fifth tribe, is essential for the survival of the State of Israel.”

As Gentiles, we can pray that the Lord will truly unite the Jewish people as He has promised through His prophets. Thank God that He is bringing them home, and pray that they will be given one min and heart in the land, in order that they can fulfil God’s purposes of being a model and a blessing to the nations – including the Arabs in the land as well as Israel’s Arab neighbors.

As Rabbinical Jewish leaders recently stated, the Jewish people consider themselves to have received “a dual mission: to found the nation of Israel that would inherit, settle and establish a model society in the holy, promised land of Israel, all while serving as a source of light for all mankind”. (Between Jerusalem and Rome – reflections on 50 years Nostra Aetate)


Election fever in Israel
With national elections less than a week away (17thSeptember), all the parties and their leaders are campaigning furiously. Under Israel’s system of proportional representation, the party that wins the most seats in Parliament (Knesset) must form a coalition in order to govern. According to the polls, it is a neck-and-neck race between Likud (Netanyahu) and Blue-and-White (Gantz/Lapid) as to which party will emerge as the largest. In this interesting analysis in the Jerusalem Post, veteran analyst Isi Leibler discusses the issues and possible outcomes of the elections.
Read article..

Netanyahu announces: If elected, I will apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley
One of the main policy issues in the elections is the question whether or not Israel will annex Israeli settlements and/or parts of the West Bank. This is a major policy issue, that the various parties are addressing. PM Netanyahu has made some strong statements in recent weeks to the effect that he intends to ensure Israel retains control over Israeli’s living in the West bank, and possible even extend Israeli sovereignty over (ie. annex) parts of the West Bank. This is all in the context of President Trump’s recent announcement that he intends to issue the political part of his “Deal of the Century” straight after the Israeli elections. Some in Israel are concerned that that plan will not be entirely in Israel’s favour.

The latest development is PM Netanyahu’s declaration this week that he intends to apply Israeli sovereignty to parts of the Jordan valley and northern Dead Sea. “Today I’m announcing my intention, with the establishment of the next government, to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday. “This is our essential safety belt in the east. This is the eastern defensive wall.”
Read more..

As Raphael Ahren explains, there are still many unanswered legal questions about such a move. Will this amount to annexation of territory? And will Netanyahu seek cabinet or Parliamentary approval for the move?
Read more..

Predictably, the Arab world has condemned the announcement, and the UN has responded that any step by Israel to annex territory outside the Green Line will be “devoid of international legal effect”. Such statements are more political than legal in nature; the UN has no authority to determine the legality or otherwise of purported annexation of territory.
Read more..

Read this excellent analysis and review of the Jordan Valley issue published by AIJAC.

A dark cloud hovers over religious freedom in Europe
The Wallonian local government in Belgium issued a decree on 7 July 2017 in which the non-stunned/non-sedated slaughter of animals is prohibited; amending a 14 August 1986 law regarding the permitted slaughter of “vertebrate” animals.

The decree has already been challenged by both Jewish and Muslim parties at the Belgian Constitutional Court. On 4 April 2019, the Belgian Constitutional Court referred the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg to obtain a preliminary ruling.

The Belgian decree purportedly aims to ensure animal well-being. Its opponents argue it denies Jews and Muslims the freedom to practice their religion in conformity with their respective beliefs.

Similar laws are being considered in a number of other EU member states.

Chairman of the Jewish Agency Isaac Hertzog has expressed deep concern about the new Belgian laws:
Read article..


Jewish identity, Jewish diaspora and Israel
In the continuing discussion within Jewish world about the relations between US Jewry and Israel, the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin has published a short article emphasizing the miracle of Jewish nationhood.

“Friends, the miracle of the Jewish people is not only that we survived for thousands of years. The real miracle is that, despite the fact that we were spread all over the world, speak different languages, and developed different traditions, we always were one people. Despite our differences, we remained bound by our shared history, our core values and beliefs, our Book of Books, and our commitment to improving the world.”
Read more..


Israel to start exporting natural gas to Jordan and Egypt
It is a modern miracle that natural gas has been found off-shore within Israel territorial waters, and that Israel has now developed into one of the largest suppliers of natural gas in the region.

The Jerusalem Post reports that one of the largest natural gas fields discovered worldwide in the last decade, the Leviathan reservoir is expected to contain up to 605 billion cu.m. (BCM) of natural gas, equivalent to 65 years of domestic gas consumption.

Project partners Delek Drilling, Noble Energy and Ratio Oil Exploration have invested a total of $3.75 billion in the development of the reservoir since its discovery in 2010. The natural gas production platform, located 10 km. from Israel’s shores, is currently in its final stages of construction and will undergo a series of commissioning tests before starting to pump gas.

“The Israeli market consumed approximately 11 BCM of natural gas last year, and we have Leviathan with more than 600 BCM of gas and Tamar with approximately 300 BCM,” Abu said.

“Israel is completely independent in energy production, and we have decades of energy security. That ought to lead Israeli policymakers to get rid of everything that isn’t natural gas for producing energy.”
Read more..

Further reading on this topic:
Production platform for Leviathan, Israel’s largest gas field, to arrive in days

 

Happy reading, and Shabbat shalom,

Andrew Tucker
Editor-in-Chief
Israel & Christians Today

 


Scripture for the week: Ezekiel 37:21-28

“And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.
Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince forever.
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.”

 

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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.
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