FOR THOSE OF biblical faith, it is distressing to see the nation of Israel blamed for every sort of earthly misfortune imaginable. We know that the Scriptures teach that one should be doubly careful before pointing a finger at the Jewish state or people, "for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye." Zechariah 2:8. Yet we witness all manner of culpability ascribed to this small, but significant country.

From the capture of PKK terrorist leader Abdullah Ocalan to the Monica Lewinsky affair, from advanced arms landing in China to the tragic death of Princess Diana, people seem to see a hidden Israeli hand everywhere. Given enough time, I'm sure I could find out there someone who believes Israel was behind this winter's Alpine avalanches and mad cow's disease.

In the same spirit, the Israeli electorate is shown little respect, even by other democracies. So much time and effort is spent by outsiders trying to influence the outcome of elections in which only the Israeli people can decide their future. Sometimes it comes in the form of Hamas and Hizb'Allah terrorists seeking to inflict election-eve wounds. At other times, it takes the shape of shifts in diplomatic stands by supposed allies carefully gauged to sway ballot results.

If only they knew the eternal truth of how beloved this People is in the sight of God… They would think twice before touching Israel.

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