ISRAEL - BACK ON TRACK

by Stan Goodenough
from "A WORD FROM JERUSALEM", July/August 1996, Published by ICEJ

It is clear - despite the uncertainties that remain-that the recent elections set Israel back on her historical course - the path from which she was led when visions of an unobtainable peace deluded her leaders and exacted from the nation a painful and bloody price.

Most Bible-believers know that the return of the Jews to Israel over the last 150 years; the vanquishing of the Ottoman Empire that freed Israel from centuries of Islamic rule; the 1947 UN vote giving the Jews sovereignty over a part of their ancient homeland; the astounding victories in war after war which returned more of that land to them; the collapse of the USSR, and the ongoing and massive immigration of Jews since then - all this has been part of the first stage of the restoration plan destined by God for His people.

The biblical blueprint is for this physical restoration to be followed by an earth-shaking spiritual restoration that will show the whole world that this is a special nation, set aside by God to be different from all other nations, and to be a light, and an example of godliness, to the rest of the world. It is for this purpose that God is restoring the Jews to their land.

Israel was always meant to stand alone, ever since Balaam, instead of cursing them, blessed them with the destiny of "a people dwelling alone, not reckoning itself among the nations." (Numbers 23:9)

But it was as if the Labouri Meretzl Arab government - an almost irreligious, secular-humanist government - deliberately chose to oppose God's purpose. Included among its members were those who openly scoffed at God, belittled His biblical promises, and derided things from Israel's spiritual past precious to so many fellow Jews.

Thus, in his first address in July 1992, newly-elected Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin told his countrymen that the world had changed, and that as premier he would do everything possible to see that the State of Israel will fit into this world."

Indeed the whole world rejoiced at Mr Rabin's rise to power. Observed The Jerusalem Post (15/7/92): "The universal approbation, outside Israel, for the new Yitzhak Rabin government is hardly surprising. The world's leaders expect a Rabin administration... to do what they want Israel to do: withdraw to the 1967 lines, allow the establishment of a Palestinian state in the administered territories (with half of Jerusalem as its capital), and relinquish the Golan."

Fourteen months later, the drumbeat to which Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres marched took them to Washington, D.C., where, before an unprecedented gathering of world leaders, Israel signed a peace pact with Yasser Arafat, the unrepentant, most virulent enemy of the Jews since Adolf Hitler. Instead of peace, this agreement was to spawn acts of terror that would claim more Israeli lives than in any other comparative period since 1948.

Despite the persistent refusal of the Palestinian Arabs to keep their part of the agreement, Israel's government ploughed on, giving away large segments of the land so recently restored to Jewish rule, and permitting the establishment, arming and deploying of a large Arab force within shooting distance of Israel's cities and towns.

Any qualms the government might have felt were assuaged by the growing global insistence that this was the only road to peace. The United States in particular kept the pressure on. Three times in as many years, US President Bill Clinton came to Israel: In 1994 to undersign Rabin's peace with Jordan. In 1995 to attend Mr Rabin's funeral and urge his successors to continue the process. And in 1996 to boost Shimon Peres' chances for reelection; telling the people of Israel that American support could be counted on as long as they voted to continue the peace process.

The picture came into full clarity on March 14 this year when, in a message to the Jewish nation, President Clinton contradicted the call God put on Israel's destiny through Balaam:

"In the days of the Bible, the foreign prophet, Balaam, looked upon the children of Israel and called them 'a people that shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations'.

"Today" he said, "looking at all this nation has achieved, the acceptance it has won in the Middle East and around the world fin the last four years], we know his words were and are and will be wrong."

For what was the New Middle East envisaged by Peres, fought for by the Meretz and Israeli Arab parties, and driven along by the world if not a region in which Israel's Jewish character would dissolve, to be replaced by just another ordinary democratic nation - the sum of its different people parts?

From these peoples' point of view, Israel was on the way to becoming just another nation among the nations of the world. And from the Arab-Islamic vantage point, Israel was en route to disappearing. For Yasser Arafat and his PLO, the peace process was a tool to be used to roll Israel up in stages, piece by piece. And it is well known that the late Ayatollah Khomeini, Libya's Muammar Gadaffi, and most true Muslims-of which there are millions-wish to establish the hegemony of Islam over the whole world, beginning with Jerusalem, Israel and the Middle East.

This was the situation confronting Israel just a few short weeks ago until the miraculous victory of Binyamin Netanyahu against the expectations of many people, and despite the numerous public polls that consistently gave Shimon Peres the lead. And the first thing Mr Netanyahu did, after hearing of his victory, was to walk with his wife to the Western Wall and pray. It was an amazing action symbolising the new government's intention to acknowledge the LORD and the Jewish heritage.

So then, this election took Israel from its mainly secular course-the road to a false peace-and brought it back to again being, more consciously, a Jewish nation.

Although initially many of the world's most influential journalists referred to Netanyahu's win as a "disaster", this has been replaced by a more sobering 'wait and see' attitude based on the new prime minister's statements affirming his commitment to peace in his words "peace with security".

The election result was a blow to the pride of all who said that this peace process would bring peace. We, as Christians, know that it is not a true peace process. We know, because Arafat has not kept to the commitments he made in the two Oslo agreements; and we know, because the Bible says quite clearly what the outcome and nature will be of an agreement made "with death and with Hades".

We will soon see the world's reaction when Israel, under its new government, no longer continues unabated with a process designed and approved by the rest of the world to make the Jewish state become "just like them".

Now Israel stands alone - with its God - and with a man called Binyamin (Benjamin) Netanyahu, whose first name means, "son of my right hand" and whose second name means "given of God". After the last four years, it is the safest place Israel can be.

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