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Weekly Update: “Peace to Prosperity” – God’s way, or man’s way?

Andrew Tucker - 17 July 2020

Do the Jewish people need sovereignty over land in order to fulfil their calling as a nation? If so, which land? And what about the non-Jews in the land?

These are the subjects of the debate that has erupted around a recent essay by Jewish writer Peter Beinart calling for a bi-national State of Israel-Palestine. “It is time for liberal Zionists to abandon the goal of Jewish–Palestinian separation and embrace the goal of Jewish–Palestinian equality.”

Beinart’s essay has provoked a vigorous debate in the Jewish world. Daniel Gordis, – a leading Jewish Zionist educator based in Jerusalem – accuses Beinart of dishonesty. Gordis says he shares Beinart’s concern for the “plight of the Palestinians” and admits that the status quo is “not tenable in the long run”. But he believes Beinart deliberately ignores the fact that the reason Israel has become so successful, is because it has become a safe haven free of threats of annihilation. He accuses Beinart of downplaying the hatred of the Jewish people within Palestinian and Arab society, and argues that unless the Jewish people have a sovereign state of their own, they will again be threatened with persecution.

Of course, none of this is new. Ever since the beginning of the Zionist movement in the 19th century, the Jewish people have been debating what it means to be “Jewish” – how important is it for Jews to be in the land, what does a “Jewish homeland in Palestine” look like?

Gordis offers a powerful plea for Jewish sovereignty. “As heretical as this will sound to the Jewish universalist progressives who are Beinart’s minions, I care about both the Palestinians and the future of Judaism’s richness — but if forced to choose (which would not be the case if the Palestinian position was different), I’m going with the People I am blessed to be a part of.”

Gordis continues: “Israel was created not to be perfect, but to restore the Jewish people to its ancestral homeland, and thus to allow the Jewish people and its culture to thrive and flourish as it can nowhere else on earth. Looked at that way, Israel is not only miraculous, it is an extraordinary success. We Israelis can see our terrible mistakes and still take pride in what we’ve accomplished; many of us are horrified by what it still not right here, but we have no interest in Beinart’s suggestion that we therefore commit national suicide.”

Of course, neither Beinart nor Gordis were addressing the hot potato of “annexation”, the Trump “Peace to prosperity” plan or the question of whether Israel should extend its sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. But it’s all connected. The Word of God reveals God’s peace plan  – His “deal of the century” to bring peace between Jews and Palestinians. As Johannes Gerloff writes (see below) “the Peace of Jerusalem” depends on the restoration of the Jewish people as one nation to the “mountains of Israel” (ie. Judea and Samaria). In fact, the Lord has promised via the prophet Ezekiel that through (1) the restoration of the twelve tribes of Jacob to this specific land, (2) the unification of the twelve tribes into one nation, and (3) the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them, blessing and peace will come to all within Jerusalem’s walls.

We are living in momentous times. Christians must continue to pray that the leaders of the Jewish State of Israel will be cleansed of all unrighteousness, and have wisdom and strength as they seek to unite their nation, and decide how to move forward in relation to sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and the failed peace process with the Arab Palestinian people. Let us also pray for the Arab Palestinians, that they too will see that the path to peace and prosperity is not through violence and division of the land, but through embracing God’s plan for restoration of the Jewish people. And let us pray for President Trump and other world leaders, that they will be inspired by God’s Word, and not seek to impose any plans (however well-intentioned) that deviate from God’s word.

Shabbat shalom,

Andrew Tucker
Editor-in-Chief – Israel & Christians Today


The Jewish people continue to come home 

Abigail Windberg was born in Dalian, a city of almost six million people in northeast China. The middle child in a family of three, she and her younger brother were considered “illegal” children, due to China’s birth control policy, which at the time permitted only one child per family. Now Abigail has become fully Jewish, and lives in Israel. Read her story..


What is the “Peace of Jerusalem”?

Johannes Gerloff writes: “The writer of Psalm 122 knew, what today the world of nations seems to merely sense: The integrity of Jerusalem is the key to the well-being of the world. That’s why he says: “For the sake of my brothers and friends, I want to speak of Shalom in you” (verse 8). He knew that Israel is the heartbeat of the living God. He was aware that the separation of the people of Israel from the land of Israel humiliates, dishonors, and desecrates the name of the Lord (Ezekiel 36:20). Jerusalem is the place where the Heavenly Father feels at home, where He wishes His holy name to dwell, where He wants to fellowship with those who love Him. Therefore he concludes: “For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I request the good for you” (verse 9).” Read more..


The Beinart controversy 

Read Beinart’s essay here: Yavne: A Jewish Case for Equality in Israel-Palestine

Daniel Gordis’ response: End the Jewish State? Let’s try some honesty, first

Alan Dershowitz responds in similar vein:
Beinart’s Final Solution: End Israel as Nation-State of the Jewish People


Dutch government threatens Israel Products Centre with fine

Dutch government inspectors have said they intend to fine the Israel Products Centre for selling wine from the West Bank city of Hebron that is labeled as “made in Israel”. The warning came during a July 10 inspection of the Israel Products Center, an importer and retailer connected with Christians for Israel. In a statement, the Center said that two agents from the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority did not confiscate any products but warned that the center could face fines for violating EU labeling requirements. IPC’s labels state that the wines imported from Hebron are “made in an Israeli village in Judea and Samaria”. According the European Commission, products that are made in the “occupied territories” may not have a “made in Israel” label but must indicate that they are produced in occupied territories. IPC has indicated it intends to challenge this decision. Read more..


“The Covenant” – Video teaching by Johannes Gerloff

Episode 32 in the series of teachings by Israeli-based Bible teacher and journalist Johannes Gerloff:

God makes a covenant with Abraham. It is not so much Abraham’s piety, Abraham’s desire to be close to God, Abraham’s goodness that is the basis of his relationship with the Creator. Rather, God Himself takes the initiative. He promises to uphold this covenant, not only with Abraham, but even with his descendants. Therefore it is an everlasting, an eternally valid agreement – guaranteed by God’s faithfulness.

 

“Hunger” – Video teaching by Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer

Rev. Willem Glashouwer helps us understand God’s prophetic word, and how prophecy is being fulfilled in our generation.

“In the wake of war, lawlessness and of revolution, there is always hunger. When Jeremiah complains about the fate of Jerusalem, he says that the people look black from hunger and their skin has shrivelled on their bones. Hunger is something horrible, it is like dying slowly. Little bits of food prolong being alive, but also prolong suffering. People become predators who steal what the other needs most.”

 

Scripture for the week: Ezekiel 36:8-12; 24-32

“But you, mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will cause many people to live on you—yes, all of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will increase the number of people and animals living on you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. I will cause people, my people Israel, to live on you. They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance; you will never again deprive them of their children.

‘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. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, people of Israel!”

 

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