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Weekly Update: The price of “peace and security”

20 November 2020

In early December the Jewish people will celebrate Hanukkah – the Festival of Lights. They take time to reflect on the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees miraculously defeated the Hellenist general Antiochus Epiphanes, who conquered Jerusalem, banned circumcision and profaned the Temple by erecting a statue of Zeus there. The festival highlights the calling of the Jewish people to be a light in the world.

The weeks leading up to Hanukkah are also traditionally a season for anti-Zionists to vent their hatred of Judaism and displeasure with the existence of a Jewish state. Around this time the UN General Assembly each year adopts a bundle of resolutions condemning Israel as a gross human rights violator and supporting those who deny that there ever was a Temple in Jerusalem. This year was no different. 29th November has been designated by the UN as International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Why that date? Because it is the anniversary of the day on which the UN General Assembly adopted its Partition Plan on 29th November 1947. That plan envisaged the establishment of a Jewish state and an Arab state in economic union, and an internationalized city of Jerusalem. The plan never came into effect because it was rejected by the Arab world, who refused to accept the existence of a Jewish state.

In 1945, the United Nations was established to create a new world order: a global legal system that would prevent war and guarantee peace and security. Just three years later – in 1948 – the State of Israel came into being.

The nations of the West may have been spared wars over the last 70 years, but we have paid a price. Since 1948, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism have risen alarmingly, at the same time as morality has disappeared from public life in the West – as Rabbi Sacks warns us in his latest (and last) book Morality.

Is it possible that the price for world peace is the sacrifice of that morality and the right of the Jewish people to a safe haven – the right just to “be Jewish”? Are we seeing some kind of repeat of the Maccabean clash between the Jewish people and the dominant world rulers of the day? Is Jerusalem possibly the epicentre of that clash?

If so, on which side do we stand?

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today


 

UN singles out Israel and denies Jewish connection with Temple Mount
UN Watch reports: “In the current 75th session of the UN General Assembly (2020-2021), all EU member states will likely vote for one resolution each to criticize Iran, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar, the U.S., for its embargo on Cuba, and two resolutions on Crimea. By contrast, EU states will likely vote for 13 out of 17 resolutions singling out Israel. Yet these same EU states failed to introduce a single UNGA resolution on the human rights situation in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam, Algeria, or on 175 other countries.” Read more..

A United Nations General Assembly committee adopted a resolution that referred to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of Haram al-Sharif, one of seven resolutions passed today that single out or condemn Israel, with zero on the entire rest of the world. “The UN today showed contempt for both Judaism and Christianity by passing a resolution that makes no mention of the name Temple Mount, which is Judaism’s holiest site, and which is sacred to all who venerate the Bible, in which the ancient Temple was of central importance,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based, independent non-governmental watchdog organization. Read more..

European Court allows anti-Semitic BDS activities 

thinc. reports: “The European Court of Human Rights (ECt.HR) in June 2020 ruled that calls for boycott of Israeli products are justified under European human rights law. This case raises serious policy issues. BDS activities are at their core discriminatory and anti-Semitic, and should be prohibited – as they are in several countries.” In this first article Dr. Matthijs de Blois and Andrew Tucker explain the Court’s ruling: Read more..

In their second article they argue the Court failed to take the anti-Semitic character of the BDS movement seriously. “The Court hardly pays attention to the relevance of the rights of those who were discriminated by the action of the applicants. In the framework of the balancing of the importance of the freedom of expression and the counterweighing right to be protected against discrimination, one would have expected a more thorough analysis. The  Court should have looked into the effect of the actions on Israeli citizens against the background of the dark history of the treatment of Jews in European history. In history the call to boycott products sold by Jews (“Kauft nicht bei Juden”) frequently was one of the first expressions of anti-Semitism.” Read more..

The Poverty of ‘Anti-Zionism’ and the Renewal of Zionism

Alex Ryvchin in Fathom Journal:  “The creation of Israel as the fruit of Zionism, a wildly ambitious movement of emancipation, ingathering and rehabilitation, should be a source of pride and admiration. But to penetrate deeper into the Jewish consciousness, maintain its relevance, and reclaim its capacity to unite Jews of the left and of the right, religious and secular, and in Israel and the diaspora, Zionism can no longer be seen through the prism of Basel and a time when the Jews were stateless. Framing Zionism as mere support for the existence of a Jewish State, something that is both self-evident and complete, will neither inspire nor unite. Instead, Zionism should be seen for its underpinnings in Jewish peoplehood and connection to land, and for its defining purpose, which is to win and safeguard the equal rights of the Jewish people.” Read more..

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks on the urgent need to rebuild morality in the West 
In his last interview (for Gatestone Institute on 17th September this year), Rabbi Sacks spoke about his book Morality – a wake-up call about the break-down of public morality. “With liberal democracy embattled, public discourse grown toxic, family life breaking down, and drug abuse and depression on the rise, many fear what the future holds. In Morality, Jonathan Sacks traces today’s crisis to our loss of a strong, shared moral code and our elevation of self-interest over the common good. We have outsourced morality to the market and the state, but neither is capable of showing us how to live. Sacks leads readers from ancient Greece to the Enlightenment to the present day to show that there is no liberty without morality and no freedom without responsibility, arguing that we must all must play our part in rebuilding a common moral foundation. A major work of moral philosophy, Morality is an inspiring vision of a world in which we can all find our place and face the future without fear.” Read more..

 

Glory  |  “The Signs of the Times” with Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer 

The first question of the disciples was: when will this happen? When will the city of Jerusalem and the Temple be destroyed in such a way that not one stone will be left upon another? It was literally fulfilled 40 years later. The second question was: what will be the sign of Your coming? How can we understand the ‘signs of the times’ so that we know when Your coming in Glory is right at hand? Among many ‘negative’ signs, Jesus mentions two ‘positive’ signs: the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom in the entire world, and the fig tree that’s coming back to life again, the restoration of Israel. And these two are being fulfilled in our days.

 

Scripture for the week: Psalm 1

When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; is love endures forever.”

Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord. And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God. The priests took their positions, as did the Levites with the Lord’s musical instruments, which King David had made for praising the Lord and which were used when he gave thanks, saying, “His love endures forever.” Opposite the Levites, the priests blew their trumpets, and all the Israelites were standing.

Solomon consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the Lord, and there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar he had made could not hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat portions.

So Solomon observed the festival at that time for seven days, and all Israel with him—a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had celebrated the dedication of the altar for seven days and the festival for seven days more.10 On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their homes, joyful and glad in heart for the good things the Lord had done for David and Solomon and for his people Israel.

11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, 12 the Lord appeared to him at night and said:

“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.

13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’

19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you[and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”