Israel. For a country the size of New Jersey it sure makes a lot of headlines. In the past 120 hours:
Israel will be demolished if it attacks Iran – Tehran Times
Iran warns ‘nothing will remain’ of Israel if military action begins – NBC News
US-Israel divisions over Iran boil over – Reuters
Israel leader says US may not act against Iran – The Associated Press
Israeli leader calls for ‘clear red line’ on Iran – USA Today
US, Israel still at odds over Iran “red line” – Reuters
Netanyahu, Obama relations hit new low – Independent Online
Obama rejects meeting with Netanyahu but invites Muslim Brotherhood – The Examiner
Obama won’t meet Netanyahu over Iran row -Israeli official – Reuters
All of those headlines and dozens more have been posted over the past week as tensions continue to mount higher and higher between Israel and the United States. But why? Why does this tiny country matter and why should we defend its right to exist?
We have to back up a moment and look at the re-establishment of Israel. Jews had been scattered all around the world (see the bible for details). In 1901, Zionists (a Jewish movement who sought to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Israel) began to buy up land in the Middle East, where Israel was. At that time, the land was called Palestine. The Zionists bought unusable land; barren wastelands. They made the desert bloom, grew forests and cleared rock.
When Britain turned over control of Palestine to the United Nations, they set up a partition in which Palestine would remain on part of the land and Israel would be on the other. Unfortunately, the Arabian people did not see this as a good plan. Arabs were free to attack the Zionists who they saw as invaders. As we know from history, the Zionists were victorious and Israel was re-born. During the struggles, Jordan claimed some of the land of Palestine for their own, making the land for the Arabs of Palestine even smaller. To this day there are no differences between the people living in Palestine and the people living in Jordan. As far as the Palestinians go, they became a pawn for the Arab world to use against Israel.
That is a woefully inadequate retelling of history, but if you want to find the stories for yourself, I suggest you attempt to find the most unbiased story you can. It’s not easy to do, but they’re out there.
Whether we like it or not, even from a secular standpoint; throughout history, governments have be born from conflict and conquest, including the one where this is being written; the U.S. In that regard, Israel is one of the most non-violent immigrations in history.
But still the battle continues unabated. Every day there are conflicts on the border. Lebanon isn’t opposed to throwing a few rockets, Iran is threatening to blow them off the map and Egypt’s new government is increasingly hostile as well.
What is the United States’ roll in the history and future of Israel? Well, the United States was the first to recognize the State of Israel in 1952, only 11 minutes after the proclamation was issued. Every president until now has visited Israel during his presidency. Israel has always looked to us for guidance and support, and the United States shares similar democratic and economic values and goals as Israel. We also share a common struggle to triumph over those who would want to do us harm.
That can’t be all, though that is a strong start. There must be something more to this issue. There must be some other reason that Israel is in the news every day.
If you are an evangelical Christian, or even a biblical scholar, the answers become clearer almost immediately.
The Lord said to Abraham , “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.“- Genesis 12:3
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” – Deuteronomy 7:6
“For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.” – Romans 15:27b
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure.’” – Psalm 122:6
There are countless other scripture verses that maintain that Israel is the apple of God’s eye and that will always be. However, that doesn’t give Israel a blanket approval of any action they choose. That gives them the right to defend themselves against their enemies and to offer support. Not necessarily military support, but support to know they’re not in this alone.
Speaking only for myself; when the president refuses a visit with the Israeli Prime Minister, he offends me. Israel is facing some tough choices. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be surrounded by enemies on all sides, but to have one that wants to go nuclear is even more daunting.
When Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is overlooked in a political party’s platform, I am insulted again. That’s no different than saying that Washington DC is not our nation’s capital.
I believe that God will one day judge how everyone treated Israel. I also believe that if we are to turn our back on her that we will all be affected by that decision. As the world slips away from knowing right from wrong and the truth from a lie, prayers and support for the land and people of Israel must be an imperative.