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Weekly Update: Dedication

11 December 2020

This week is Hanukkah – the festival of lights. This festival reminds us that God’s covenants are not to be broken. His name alone is to be glorified. This requires dedication to Him alone.

On Thursday President Trump announced that Israel and Morocco have agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations. At the same time he announced that the US would recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara.

This is the fourth Arab-Israel cooperation agreement in four months. These so-called “Abraham” agreements reflect an apparently growing acceptance by people in the region that the Jewish state is no longer just surviving; it is here to stay, it is an active player in the region and it is becoming a hub for development, advancement and growth. That is, in and of itself, a very positive development.

It is too early to tell what the political implications of this agreement will be. It is very unusual for a tripartite “deal” of this nature to be made. And the fact that the agreement includes recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara is remarkable, to say the least.

It is also important to observe that, immediately following announcement of the agreement with Israel, the King of Morocco took pains to reaffirm to the Palestinian leaders his commitment to Palestinian claims to Jerusalem and Muslim control over the Temple Mount.

As Rev. Glashouwer has commented in a recent article about the Abraham Accords: “These peace accords in no way imply that these Islamic states recognize that Israel has the right and is entitled to be an independent Jewish State. They only accept the fact that this is momentarily only the political reality. The same goes for the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. … The Old Testament prophets warn Israel time and again not to seek refuge in political alliances with the surrounding powers of their days, like Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, et cetera. The prophet Jeremiah says in chapter 6:14 and 8:11 ‘Peace, peace, they say, when there is no peace.’ Similarly, Ezekiel 13:10 when he warns against the false prophets.”

This is, admittedly, a difficult message. While the renewed friendship between Israeli and Morocco is to be celebrated, the message of Hanukkah should also remind us that “normalization” agreements between Israel and other powers cannot – in and of themselves – bring the peace and security that God promises.

In this Hanukkah season, let us pray that God’s covenant purposes will be fulfilled, and that His name alone will be glorified on His holy mountain. Only then can real peace come.

This requires all of us – Jews and Gentiles – to re-dedicate ourselves to Him.

The Editorial team
Israel & Christians Today



A rich Jewish past, and present: Why Israel’s deal with Morocco is so resonant

By Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel: “Unlike other longtime and fresh peace partners of Israel, Morocco has an ongoing connection to the Jewish people, and many Israelis will be rushing for a direct flight ‘home’”. Read more..


Hanukkah: Light in the darkness

By Cornelis Kant at Christians for Israel: From 10th until 18th December 2020 the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah is the feast of the dedication of the Temple. It is celebrated to commemorate the day when the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, after defeating the Syrians, in 165 BC. God’s light of Salvation will always shine in the dark periods of our life and of our world.” Read more..


Israel to begin giving corona vaccines Dec. 27

JPost: “The first batch of Pfizer vaccine has arrived in Israel. Israel will begin administering the coronavirus vaccine to citizens on December 27, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday night.” Read more..


Politics, America, and Culture: Behind Saudi Arabia’s Hesitation

Dr. Mordechai Kedar at BESA: “The official Saudi denial of a meeting between Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu proves that the meeting did not produce the result Netanyahu had hoped for. Riyadh does not yet see sufficient reason to make the groundbreaking change of open and normalized relations with Jerusalem.” Read more..


ICC rebukes, but clears UK – maybe the same for Israel – analysis

Jeremy Bob at JPost: “This could be a roadmap for how the ICC might end a six-year saga and dispose of war crimes allegations against Israel relating to the 2014 Gaza War.” Read more..


Resilience, community and nationhood: ‘What Israelis Can Teach the World’ 

Claudia Muscovici at JNS.org: “Resilience is not just about affirming our individuality, but above all, about expressing empathy and finding in altruistic goals a higher meaning that gives us a greater sense of purpose and inner strength. Its message is all the more crucial nowadays when tribal (and identity) politics risk dividing communities in Israel and the United States.” Read more..

 

Scripture for the week: Isaiah 60:1-9

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
“Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy;
the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,
to you the riches of the nations will come.
Herds of camels will cover your land,
young camels of Midian and Ephah.
And all from Sheba will come,
bearing gold and incense
and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.
All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you,
the rams of Nebaioth will serve you;
they will be accepted as offerings on my altar,
and I will adorn my glorious temple.
“Who are these that fly along like clouds,
like doves to their nests?
Surely the islands look to me;
in the lead are the ships of Tarshish,
bringing your children from afar,
with their silver and gold,
to the honor of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.