More than 67,000 Nigerians made decisions to dedicate their lives to Yeshua and many people experienced healing as a result of mission trips completed by the Isaiah 2 Initiative.
Ron Cantor, an active member of Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv, took a team of young people from his congregation. The Isaiah 2 Initiative has completed two mission trips to Nigeria. To our knowledge, these are the first Israeli Messianic Jewish missionary trips. Ron describes the inception of this vision,
February 14th, 2009: I was in a hotel in Lagos, Nigeria, when the Lord spoke to my heart.
I had just been invited to organize a mass outreach campaign by local leaders from Adamawa State in eastern Nigeria, but I was struggling internally. Something wasn’t right!
As I prayed that morning I felt in my heart that I was not to return to Nigeria alone, but to bring Israeli young people with me so they too could fulfill their call to be a light to the nations and be deeply impacted in the process—returning to Israel on fire!
That was the beginning of our “Isaiah 2 Initiative.”
The young missionaries were touched by the simple way of living they observed throughout Nigeria.
The initiative draws its name from Isaiah 2:3b, “The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”
The tribal King of the hosting city, a Muslim, graciously accepted these Jewish believers from Israel. Cantor states,
It is a tradition in Nigeria that when a visitor comes to a city, he or she is received by the mayor and the tribal king.
The king of Hong is a Muslim, and given the backdrop of Islamic violence against Christians in northern Nigeria, his words were even more powerful.
“You have come to Hong and have answered my prayers.”
A Muslim king was praying that we would bring the Gospel to his city? I didn’t argue with him!
Everywhere we went, we were literally treated like royalty by everybody! The joy on their faces, anticipating our coming to their village with the Gospel, was humbling.
A Nigerian spokesman said he and his fellow countrymen were particularly touched to be visited by people from “the country we have read about in the Bible.”
Among the reports of miraculous healing that resulted from the mission were those of vision being restored to a previously blind woman and hearing to a man who had been deaf. On one night of the campaign the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was proclaimed as the one and only God — whereby objects and articles connected to superstitions, idols and the occult were publicly burned.
Ron summarizes the trip this way.
By God’s grace we in Israel will continue to focus on preaching the good news of Yeshua to the nations. We believe that as the body of Believers in Israel embraces its role to be a light to the nations, it will release grace on Israelis to confess Yeshua.
Furthermore, there is no doubt that the young Israelis who come on these trips have life-changing encounters. Their boldness to share the good news here in Israel has been reinforced and their faith to believe for miracles strengthened.
The attempt to harm Israel through boycotts is nothing new. Commenting on the BDS (Boycotts, Divestment,and Sanctions) movement against Israel Shira Sorko-Ram writes
Although the Arab nations have not been able to destroy Israel militarily, they now believe they are finally on their way to success. By pouring billions of dollars yearly into public relations with governments, the media, universities and churches throughout the world, Palestinians feel certain they are winning the war by turning world opinion against the legitimacy of the nation of Israel.
The Palestinian public relations war is bearing much fruit, especially in the West. One of their tools is launching campaigns to boycott all Israeli products and apply sanctions against international companies that do business with Israel.
One blaring hypocritical note is that a key component of the technology to produce that video is from Israel (i.e. Intel Pentium chip).
The action taken in Australia is modeled after an apparent ‘success’ from Ireland and Scotland where two malls removed kiosks representing an Israeli cosmetics company. As one activist gloated,
The products being sold on these stalls help to fund Israel’s war economy and their brutal and illegal military occupation of Palestine. It is also highly likely that these goods come from illegal settlements on Palestinian land, although it is routinely mislabelled as coming from within Israel’s borders.
These are typical statements made by young people at these proceedings, but can be demonstrated to be inaccurate and false. The statement quoted above is simply ones perspective not fact.
Have you ever thought of the scope of products that have originated from Jews and Israel? In exposing the misguided intentions of these actions, David Brumer writes, in order for the BDS crowd to be honest with themselves, this action
would include most computers, since Israel helped to develop the Intel Pentium chip, Windows MP, XP and Vista as well as Microsoft Office. They’d have to boycott Google and cell phones developed in Israel by Motorola, as well as voice mail and camera phones. Thousands of products that were developed through technological innovations in Israel, in agriculture, aerospace, energy, pharmaceuticals, and bio-medicine would also be off limits. But naturally, the self-righteous boycotters and their legions of supporters aren’t interested in such banalities.
In the last couple of years, many liberal churches have initiated anti-Israel campaigns – that is, they have resolved to withdraw investments from companies owned by Israelis, or that even do business with Israeli companies, and these churches suggest that all of their members do the same.
After all, what’s really happening in Israel at this time? The unemployment rate is at a 20-year low, last month the number of tourists who arrived in Israel was the highest in more than a decade, and the personal security situation is the best we have seen here in the past 30 years or so.
Generally speaking, people no longer fear terrorism as they did in the past and they also do not feel that they are about to lose their jobs.Meanwhile, immense reforms are being undertaken in the transportation and education systems, and in the communication market as well.
For now it appears the BDS movement has had a real economic impact on Israel. It is enjoying a sound economy and for that we are thankful. However we need to be aware of the broader goal of these actions in making modern Israel an illegal, illegitimate nation. This is the spiritual backdrop of the boycott Israel campaign.
Recently Messianic Jew, Ron Cantor, gave an importunate message on the foreign policy of the White House. Cantor holds both Israeli and US citizenship allowing him to both admonish and redirect the aspirations of the State Department. He ‘felt compelled’ to deviate from his normal Bible teaching and provide this necessary history lesson which he hopes will get out to the world. Some highlights from the message are:
Quoting Jeremiah 31:8 and Ezekiel 36:24 the foundation of the modern State of Israel is the Lord’s promise to regather Israel and this is based on a ‘covenant of circumcision’.
The borders the US administration wants to start with for Israel are NOT borders of peace, or based on natural topography but are where two armies just happened to stop fighting, not a ‘holy grail’ to be assumed.
President Truman basically upstaged his own State Department and the US Ambassador to the UN in recognizing Israel as a nation ahead of the process to hand over the Palestine Mandate to the auspice of the UN. (This took chutzpa on Truman’s part which in retrospect was very significant).
The goal of the PLO was to destroy Israel. It was founded in 1964 and at that time Israel did NOT have control of the Golan, Gaza, or Judea and Samaria. These areas were under the control of Syria, Egypt, and Jordan and provided a great opportunity to make a Palestinian State. So it is not about a state or borders.
Moshe Dayan had a media blackout that allowed the fictitious statements of Abdul Nasser to draw the Jordanian army to attack Israel and subsequently be defeated thus gaining control of Jerusalem and the West Bank. Five nations were assembled against Israel, with 500,000 soldiers in the 1967 war, while the total population of Israel was about 2.5 million Jews.
President Bush in 2004 understood that these borders were indefensible and would threaten the security of Israel.
The speech by the US President on May 19, 2011 was to be about the support and celebration of democracy and peace in the Middle Eastern countries seeking freedom from despots, but de facto forces Israel to a position which emboldened her avowed enemies, thereby increasing the likelihood of another conflict.
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
By Asher Intrater | www.revive-israel.org | Reprinted from Revive Israel Ministries with permission.
This past year offered some unprecedented opportunities to discuss our faith on Israeli media. This included the educational television, television channel one, and the largest Hebrew newspaper, Yediot.
During this time I have also attended a local Sephardic orthodox synagogue, because I enjoy studying, praying and fellowshipping with them. A few weeks ago, one of the members identified me from the television. I affirmed to him my faith as a Messianic Jew. It didn’t take long for the word to spread around the synagogue.
The rabbi asked to meet with me. He is a dear man, whom I respect. We talked for over an hour about faith and religion. Although he was polite, he told me that the rabbis in Jerusalem were organizing “harsh” opposition to me and that he would stand with them. That next Shabbat they refused to let me into the synagogue. I realized they were not really rejecting me, but rejecting Yeshua, who loves them more than they know. He and I walked away together sadly.
On Sunday the police showed up at our door. They had a summons for me to appear in court (along with a couple from our congregation). The summons contained 19 pages of unfounded claims. The suit was presented in the name of the parents of a teenage girl who had developed a friendship with the couple in our congregation.
In Israel it is illegal to convert a minor to another religion without the parents’ consent. We would not do that under any circumstance, and in this case, we had notified the family in writing that the teenager could only attend with parental permission. Therefore the suit was groundless in the first place.
When we arrived in court, there was a religious lawyer and a representative of an “anti-missionary” group. [It is worth noting that the majority of the Israeli public and the government agencies are not “anti-Messianic.” The opposition comes primarily from extremist religious groups.]
Instead of dealing with the suit of the parents, the lawyer simply began to attack us as a cult, calling me repeatedly “a leader of the cult of the Messianic Jews (Acts 24:4-5).” While this was demeaning, it had no legal bearing on the case. The suit was a ploy to defame us and had little to do with caring for the needy young lady.
Finally, the judge became angry and asked what all this religious talk had to do with the legal suit (Luke 23:4, 14, Acts 18:14-15, 19:38). When we presented as evidence our letters to the family requiring parental permission, the judge closed the case. It is a shame that the parents were exploited in the hands of those trying to discredit us. We can only hope for the best for this girl and her family.
When we returned home, we found out about the next “wave” of opposition: an article planned in the local newspaper, attacking us as a “missionary” cult. Apparently the court case was part of a “spin” to defame us in the newspapers. Please pray fervently that everything that was meant for evil will be turned to good. I want to thank our lawyer and dear friend Caleb Myers, of Jerusalem Institute for Justice, who represented us in this case.
The spiritual attack of religious persecution is three fold: Rejection, Intimidation, and Defamation. You could say they are trying to get RID of us. Because of your prayers, we were protected by the grace of God and sustained with great peace of mind.
The whole situation was reminiscent of living out a scene from the book of Acts. There we were, sitting in a court room in Jerusalem, accused of being a cult, blocked from the synagogue, plotted against by Pharisees. I suppose it was sort of an honor. The slanders against us are a diversion from the real issue: Either Yeshua is the Messiah, or He isn’t (Acts 17:3).
For decades I have taught that we should live like the apostles. Ah, but there is no apostolic revival without persecution. “Now, Lord, behold their threats, and grant to Your servants to declare Your word with all boldness, stretching out Your hand to heal and do signs and wonders…” – Acts 4:29. Did we expect to get the signs and wonders without the threats?
We are gaining a clearer perspective on the biblical narrative.
Religious leaders will “incite” normal people to be angry (Acts 6:12, 14:2, 14:19, 13:50, 17:5, 17:13).
They will hire legal and forensic specialists to accuse us (Acts 24:1).
This is why Yeshua decreed to separate state and religion (“Give unto Caesar…” – Matthew 22:21), and Saul/Paul turned to state authorities (“Before the judgment seat of Caesar…” – Acts 25:10).
We will be accused of being a cult (Acts 24:5, 14, 28:22).
Instead of dealing with the content of our message, the issue will be diverted to attacking our character, through lies and slander (Luke 23:1-2, Acts 16:20, 17:6, 18:13, 21:28, 22:22).
They will seek to catch us in one mistake in our words in order to accuse us (Luke 11:54, 14:1, 20:20).
If we pray hard enough, the modern day apostles will be delivered from jail (Acts 12:5). If we do not, they will not be delivered (Acts 12:2).
Thinking there will be revival without persecution is a deception (Acts 14:22).
Everything will be acceptable except one thing: the name of Yeshua (Acts 4:17-18, 5:28, 5:40).
Is all this worth it? Yes. For what reason? – LOVE. If we love our people, then pain and persecution are worth the price to show them the love of Messiah. I don’t feel in any way offended or hurt. We simply love our people and would be willing to lay down our lives for them (Acts 7:60, 20:24, 21:13). They really just don’t understand (Luke 23:46). Yet.
Asher Intrater is the director of Revive Israel Ministries, an apostolic ministry team dedicated to revival in Israel. To access more articles by Asher Intrater or to find out more about the Ministries of Revive Israel, go to www.reviveisrael.org.
This is the story of a remarkable Christian Zionist who did so much for the cause of Zion in the early years of the 20th century.
John Henry Patterson was the product of an Anglo-Irish family. He was born on November 10, 1867 in Ireland to a Protestant family and died in 1947 – one year before the rebirth of the Jewish State of Israel. Following the family’s military tradition, he joined the British army and served with the 16th Lancers in Lucknow, India. He was sent in 1898 to East Africa where he was engaged in building a railway bridge at Tsavo. The African workers were being terrorized by man eating lions and Patterson was successful in restoring order and killing the marauding lions. He later wrote a book about his exploits titled, The Man-Eaters of Tsavo.
According to the writer, Ami Isseroff, Patterson served in South Africa during the Boer War and retired from the army in 1911. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, he rejoined the army, saw service in Flanders and was subsequently sent to Egypt. It was while he was visiting Alexandria that he met the two men who would transform his life and make him a lifelong passionate and ardent Zionist.
Yosef Trumpeldor and Ze’ev Jabotinsky, two Jews who had earlier left Russia were attempting in 1915 to form a Jewish brigade to fight with the British and Anzac Forces against the Ottoman Turks. They were meeting constant obstacles and refusals by high ranking officers of the British High Command who were often anti-Jewish and did everything in their power to prevent a Jewish military unit from seeing active duty. Turkey, which had allied itself with Germany at the outset of World War I, ruled Mesopotamia and vast swathes of the Middle East, including the geographical territory known as Palestine, and was resisting allied pressure to oust them from their 400 year old occupation of the region.
Jabotinsky, arguably the greatest Zionist leader of his time, had sought to revive the same long dormant Jewish fighting spirit that had led the Maccabees to victory over the Greek-Syrian invaders of Judea 2,200 years earlier. He and Trumpeldor met Patterson and they immediately became firm friends, sharing the same longing for a rebirth in its ancestral and biblical homeland of a reconstituted Jewish state. Indeed, Patterson was to become the commander of the Zion Mule Corps with the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
On March 31, 1915, Lt. Colonel Patterson officiated at the swearing in ceremony of the new Jewish volunteers for the Mule Corps. He invited the soldiers to pray with him that he should, “not only, as Moses, behold Canaan from afar, but be divinely permitted to lead you into the Promised Land.” He wrote in his diary about the military training camp that, “ … never since the days of Judah Maccabee had such sights and sounds been seen and heard in a military camp – with the drilling of uniformed soldiers in the Hebrew language.” Jabotinsky had made it a personal mission to help revive the ancient language of the synagogue liturgy into the new vibrant functional language of a revived and hoped for Jewish state.
Lt. Colonel Patterson. with Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky and Yosef Trumpeldor serving as a fellow officers, led the Zion Mule Corps onto V Beach during the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign. Half of the Mule Corps had been arbitrarily seconded to Anzac forces who treated them badly and eventually sent them back to Egypt. Patterson, with the remaining 300 soldiers, saw action against the Turks during which time 14 of his men were killed and several more wounded.
The Mule Corps was disbanded in 1916, a result of relentless pressure by anti-Jewish elements in the British High Command. Patterson had been wounded at Gallipoli but eventually recovered and returned to Ireland where he commanded the 4th Royal Irish Fusiliers and the fifth Royal Dublin Fusiliers. In July, 1917 he was made commander of the 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, which happened to be one of three battalions of the Jewish Legion. The soldiers who comprised these three battalions were British and foreign Jewish personnel. Marching through the East End of London, prior to leaving to join the fighting in the geographical territory of Palestine, they were met with a tumultuous and joyful reception by Jewish and Christian Londoners who lined the streets of Whitechapel to cheer on the departing battalion.
Still smarting under British High Command reluctance to allow them to see active service in the front, Colonel Patterson and his Jewish Legion were forced to remain out of the fighting. Severe Allied losses however forced the High Command to finally let the Jewish Legion enter the campaign. By now some 5,000 Jewish soldiers were serving in the three Battalions.
The relentless anti-Jewish persecution by the British High Command towards the Jewish Legion and the serial disdain that Lt. Colonel Patterson received in reply to his long and valiant entreaties on behalf of the Jewish forces finally led him to resign in 1920. That he was never promoted, despite his outstanding record as an officer and commander, is a bitter reflection upon the endemic hostility by elements within the British Government and military towards both the Jewish Legion and the Jewish community in Palestine. Yosef Trumpeldor was later killed in 1920 while helping to defend a Jewish farmstead from Arabs at Tel Hai in Galilee.
Patterson went on to write two books about his experiences both as commander of the Zion Mule Corps –With the Zionists at Gallipoli (1916) – and the Jewish Brigade – With the Judeans in Palestine (1922). But after the war, John Henry Patterson grew yet more active in supporting Jewish rights in British Mandatory Palestine. Indeed, Jabotinsky who had served with Patterson and who was now a firm friend of the Anglo-Irish Christian Zionist, went to America with Patterson on a fund raising mission. According to Shmuel Katz, Jabotinsky wrote of Patterson: “I made an appeal for funds, then the collection began, but no one left the hall because they were waiting for Patterson to speak.”
Patterson himself wrote of Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky: “… his mentality was ‘void of the peculiar inhibitions of a Jewish mind influenced and twisted by the abnormalities of centuries of life in dispersion. That was probably the main reason why his political philosophy was so healthy and simple, and why, with all his tremendous popularity, he never became the recognized leader of the Jewish People.”
John Henry Patterson traveled to British Mandatory Palestine in the 1930s where he remained a steadfast supporter of the Irgun Zvai Leumi Jewish forces resisting Arab aggression and British hostility. Both he and Jabotinsky worked together in the United States unsuccessfully to raise a Jewish army of 100,000 to fight Nazi Germany. Jabotinsky continued to fight for a restored Jewish homeland in Eretz Yisrael: The Land of Israel. He was a phenomenal giant within the Zionist Movement but ultimately felt estranged from his less assertive colleagues in the struggle to re-establish the Jewish homeland.
Jabotinsky warned the Jewish communities of eastern Europe of the impending German Nazi juggernaut that was descending upon them, which led to the Holocaust. He died in 1940 near New York of a broken heart.
John Henry Patterson, a great Christian Zionist, died in 1947 before he lived to see the rebirth of the Jewish state that he had devoted his life to fighting for. His wife of many years died six weeks later and both were cremated and their ashes sent to Mandatory Palestine. Their burial place remains unknown except to Almighty God.
Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer on Jewish history and the Islamist-Israel conflict. His books include Volumes One and Two of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.
My May 28th article, “Five Simple Truths about the Mideast Conflict,” elicited some passionate responses from those on both sides of the debate, with the first point in particular proving to be the most controversial: “There is no such thing as a historic ‘Palestinian people” living in the Middle East.’”
Let’s unpack two of the most common responses to that assertion, separating myth from fact. Of course, we know that there are several million people living in the West Bank and Gaza who identify as Palestinians today, and regardless of their historic pedigree, they are human beings with real needs. But when a misleading “history” is presented so as to delegitimize Jewish claims to the Land, the falsehoods must be exposed.
Myth #1. The modern Palestinians can trace their lineage back to the ancient Philistines, who were living in the land of Canaan (= Palestine) long before the Israelites had arrived on the scene.
This is completely false as to any lineal or ethnic connection between modern Palestinians and ancient Philistines.
First, the Philistines were Aegean (or Cypriot) sea peoples who migrated to the southern coast of Israel/Canaan in the 12th century BC. It is unclear what relationship they bear with the Philistines who are mentioned in Genesis, hundreds of years earlier. In short, they were not a Semitic people, as the Israelites and Arabs were. Second, from the 8th-5th centuries BC, they were crushed or ruled by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians, ultimately being absorbed by these populations and entirely disappearing from history. In other words, there was a distinct, end of the line for the Philistines roughly 2,500 years ago.
Third, six hundred years after the extinction of the Philistines, and after putting down a Jewish revolt, the Romans changed the name of Judea to Palaestina (in Latin) in order to discourage Jewish patriotism. So, there is absolutely no lineal or ethnic connection between the (earlier) Philistine people and the (later) land called Palestine. In fact, the Philistines had previously lived in the western part of the country, on the Mediterranean coast, whereas Palestine originally referred to the eastern part of the country, on the West Bank of the Jordan river.
Fourth, some Muslim leaders have claimed that there was a continuous Arab presence in Palestine dating back to Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD. But this dubious claim, even if true , would still mean that the continuous Jewish presence in the land predated the first major Arab presence by at least 2,000 years, and it would also underscore the fact that there is no connection between the later Arabs and the earlier (extinct) Philistines.
Myth # 2. The whole argument about there being no historic, “Palestinian people” is meaningless, since there’s is no such thing as a historic Iraqi people either. Borders were artificially created after World War I.”
This is false, as to the overall argument and only partially true about the artificial borders.
Anyone who knows the history of the modern Middle East will recognize the names of nation-states that did not exist as such before (such as United Arab Emirates). But not all national identities in the Middle East are of recent origin.
There has certainly been an ancient, historic Egyptian people in the region, to the south of Israel, and an ancient, historic Syrian-Lebanese people, to the north of Israel, while the Iraqi people often traced their heritage back to the ancient kings of Babylon as well as to the golden age of Islam that flourished in their region 700 years ago. In contrast, the Arabs living in Palestine had no such national identity because they had no such ancient, historic roots, not to mention the fact that there were dozens of other (non-Arab) peoples living in Palestine, some of whom had ruled the region for centuries.
In the oft-quoted words of the celebrated Arab-American historian and Princeton University professor, Philip Hitti, testifying before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, “There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.” And so, if there was no “Palestine” in the pre-1948 Arab consciousness, there was no Palestinian people. The only people living in Palestine who traced their pedigree back to ancient, biblical times and who awaited the restoration of their ancient homeland were the Jewish people.
But why bother with facts? The old myths and lies are so much more effective.
Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.
So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
“We have openly said that the map will never again be the same as on June 4, 1967. For us, this is a matter of security and of principles. The June map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz. We shudder when we think of what would have awaited us in the circumstances of June, 1967, if we had been defeated; with Syrians on the mountain and we in the valley, with the Jordanian army in sight of the sea, with the Egyptians who hold our throat in their hands in Gaza. This is a situation which will never be repeated in history.”
History is replete with the exchange of territory at the hands of war and conquest. How should we look at the modern state of Israel? The above quote by Abba Eban is the famous reference to the pre-1967 armistice lines as “Auschwitz lines” of which our President wants to use as a basis for the two states of Palestine and Israel. Commenting on the President’s speech, Charles Krauthammer sagaciously states,
Note how Obama has undermined Israel’s negotiating position. He is demanding that Israel go into peace talks having already forfeited its claim to the territory won in the ’67 war — its only bargaining chip. Remember: That ’67 line runs right through Jerusalem. Thus the starting point of negotiations would be that the Western Wall and even Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter are Palestinian — alien territory for which Israel must now bargain.
The very idea that Judaism’s holiest shrine is alien or that Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter is rightfully, historically, or demographically Arab is an absurdity. And the idea that, in order to retain them, Israel has to give up parts of itself is a travesty.
The point is well taken that President Obama once again has weakened Israel, although more seriously, at the negotiating table in same way he did with the settlement freeze. What exactly are Israel’s concerns with the pre-1967 lines? The video cited below gives a graphic illustration of Israel’s security concerns.
Arab countries make up territory 650 times the size of Israel.
The distance between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is 44 miles.
An aircraft can traverse the country of Israel in less than 4 minutes. An aircraft from the Jordain border can be in Jerusalem in 2 minutes. See map.
70% of the population and 80 % of the industrial capacity of Israel is within the reach of hills of Judea and Samaria (West Bank). See map.See map.
The narrowest point of the coastal plain is a mere 9 miles.
Certainly, this is a unique situation as are other things with the Arab-Israel conflict (for example, the refugee issue, water resource issues, and historical revision and false ancestral claims). And this is precisely the point: the world cannot just hand over a state to the Palestinians who have refused offers that even included half of Jerusalem as their capital. What remains enigmatic is why our President would put such stress on any negotiations. Better these issues are settled by talks rather than bombs or bullets or public fiat. God help Israel, God help President Obama.
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
Is there any subject more controversial than the question of the legitimacy of the modern State of Israel? Is it the eternal home of the Jewish people, promised to them by God Himself? Or is it the illegitimate home of violent Jewish occupiers, an apartheid state guilty of ethnic cleansing? Or is it something in between? In the midst of the often emotional arguments on both sides, it is helpful to review five simple truths about the Mideast conflict.
1. There is no such thing as a historic “Palestinian people” living in the Middle East. To be sure, there have been Arabs living in the land of Palestine for centuries. (The land of Israel was derisively renamed “Palestine” by the Romans in the second century A.D.). And it is true that some of these families have lived in Palestine without interruption for many generations. But at no time before 1967 did these Arabs identify themselves as “Palestinians,” nor did they seek to achieve any kind of statehood there. As expressed by former terrorist Walid Shoebat, “Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian?”
Before 1967, there was no such thing as Arab, Palestinian nationalism and no attempt to develop the territory as a homeland for the Arabs who lived there, and in 1936, when the Palestine Orchestra was formed, it was a Jewish orchestra. In fact, the original name of the Jerusalem Post, the flagship Jewish newspaper, was the Palestine Post.
There is no question that there are several million people who identify themselves as Palestinians today, and many of these people have suffered great hardship in recent years. Nonetheless, the concept of a Palestinian people is a modern invention, and it is part of the anti-Israel propaganda machine without any basis in fact. The recent comments of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, claiming a 9,000 year Palestinian pedigree, are purely fictional: “Oh, Netanyahu, you are incidental in history; we are the people of history. We are the owners of history.”
2. There were anti-Jewish intifadas in Palestine two decades before the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. We are often told that Jews and Arabs coexisted peacefully in Palestine prior to the formation of the Jewish state in 1948, or at least, prior to the rise of strong Jewish nationalism. In reality, as Jews began to return to their one and only ancestral homeland in the late 19th century, hostilities began to rise among their Arab neighbors, despite the fact that there was more than enough room for both.
By the 1920’s, radical Muslim leaders like Haj Amin Al-Husseini, later a confidant of Adolph Hitler, were organizing intifadas against the Jewish population, with many Jewish lives lost. And what helped fuel Al-Husseini’s Jew-hatred was the anti-Jewish sentiment found in the Koran and early Muslim traditions. Post-1948 Jew-hatred simply built on centuries of Islamic anti-Semitism.
3. Jewish refugees fleeing from Muslim and Arab countries were absorbed by Israel after 1948; Arab refugees fleeing from Israel after 1948 were not absorbed by Muslim and Arab countries. Despite the fact that the Muslim nations surrounding Israel are 650 times the size of this tiny state, they made no effort to absorb the approximately 600,000 Arab refugees who fled Israel in 1948 when war was declared on Israel by five neighboring Arab nations.
To this day, these refugees are not welcomed by other Arab states. As expressed more than 20 years ago by Ralph Galloway, former head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, “The Arab States do want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel.” Yet Israel absorbed roughly 800,000 Jewish refugees that had to flee from Muslim nations after 1948.
4. Only one side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is truly committed to peaceful co-existence. It is often stated that if the Palestinians put down their weapons, there would be no more war but if the Israelis put down their weapons, there would be no more Israel. This is not to say that all Palestinians are warmongers and all Israelis are doves. But the vast majority of Israelis are not driven by a radical ideology that calls for the extermination of their Arab neighbors, nor are they teaching their children songs about the virtues of religious martyrdom.
Israel does not relish spending a major portion of its budget on defense, nor does it relish sending its sons and daughters into military service. It simply will not surrender Jerusalem, its historic and religious capital, and it will not commit regional suicide by retreating to indefensible borders. In return it simply asks the Palestinians to say, “We embrace your right to exist.”
5. The current uprisings throughout the Muslim and Arab world today remind us that Israel cannot fairly be blamed for all the tension and conflicts in the region. The nation of Israel is obviously not faultless in the current conflict, but it is ludicrous to think that without the presence of this supposed evil nation in the Middle East, all would be well. There have been constant disputes between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and in 1980, Abd Alhalim Khaddam, then Syria’s Foreign Minister, admitted, “If we look at a map of the Arab Homeland, we can hardly find two countries without conflict. . . . We can hardly find two countries which are not either in a state of war or on the road to war.”
Certainly, there are many obstacles that stand in the way of a true peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, and the road ahead is fraught with uncertainty, but it would be a good starting point if we replaced myths and emotional arguments with facts.
Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.
Pastor Joseph Haddad is an Arab Israeli who leads a Messianic congregation in Nahariya, in northern Israel.
In recent years the congregation has included Lebanese Christians who had fought alongside of IDF troops in Lebanon for 25 years.
Five years ago, when the Israeli army withdrew from southern Lebanon, these Lebanese Christians who had stood with Israeli forces as the Southern Lebanese Army had to leave their property and possessions and seek refuge in Israel.
Haddad says that these Lebanese Christians had suffered many casualties in their willingness to lay down their own lives to defend the northern Israeli border against terror attacks.
We recall Yeshua/Jesus’ saying that no person has a greater love than the person who lays down his life for his friends.
Haddad speaks of the first Jewish person who came to know Yeshua in his congregation. His name is Yacov. He had been an underground fighter alongside of (former Prime Minister) Menachem Begin as they fought against the British in the ’40s to establish the State of Israel.
It was a Lebanese Christian refugee who last year invited Yacov to attend Haddad’s congregation. Yacov was 72 years old. He met and accepted Yeshua while attending.
Haddad reports that only two weeks after Yacov’s salvation, he had a severe heart attack. He managed to make it to a neighbor’s front door. His body was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.
After repeated electrical shocks, he was revived, but he remained unconscious for three days. He opened his eyes on the fourth day. Doctors described his recovery as miraculous.
But Yacov had not been without awareness while he appeared to be unconscious. Like many who have survived near-death experiences, Yacov was given a tour by the best of personal tour guides.
He reports that he encountered Yeshua, dressed in white and radiating a dazzling light. Yacov says that Yeshua took him by the hand and they toured heaven together. Yacov reports that Yeshua spoke of the heavenly Jerusalem, our eternal home.
Yacov was new enough in his faith walk that he hadn’t read Revelation 21, but his description of what he saw confirms it. Yacov, like many who have had similar experiences, was disappointed to find himself back on Earth.
His one regret? “That I didn’t have a camera to videotape all the amazing beauty of the heavenly Jerusalem.”
Haddad described Yacov as the “first-fruit Jewish believer” in his Lebanese congregation.
He said a particular blessing to him in recent months has been seeing a young, former fanatical Muslim holding Yacov’s hand while they praise Yeshua together.
Increasingly in Nahariya and across the world, similar glimpses of the “one new man in Messiah” can be caught by those who have eyes to see.
Christine Colbert is a writer and editorial consultant who hails from Kansas City.