Israel in the World Spotlight … Again
Contrary to the natural order of contractions preceding the miracle of birth, yet precisely as God foretold: the nation of Israel would be born (in a single day). Then her birth pains would follow.
This was the central theme of Eye of Prophecy article posted on 7-14-18 entitled: The Remarkable Rebirth of a Nation; based primarily on Isaiah Chapter 66.
Israel’s reverse birth is the most significant Biblical prediction that has come to pass in this generation (past 70 years), proving even more conclusively that the Bible is the Word of the true and living God. Also, demonstrating that the Day of the Lord prophecies (Rapture, Tribulation, Return and Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus) are imminent in their fulfillment.
Since the United Nations Resolution of November 1947 extended statehood rights to the Jews, and Israel’s First Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s declared on May 14, 1948 that Israel was now a sovereign state, this tiny country has been in the international spotlight like no other nation on earth. Although Israel’s stunning victory in the Six-Day War of June 1967 followed by her more difficult triumph in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 garnered world headlines, global attention on Israel has increased dramatically in the last quarter century, beginning primarily with the Oslo Accords of 1993.
(Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. President Bill Clinton, and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat during signing of the Oslo Accord Agreement of 1993; the Palestinians have kept virtually none of the agreements)
This focus has intensified even more in just the past 3-4 years. Not the least of which is the startling (bordering on unbelievable) alliance between Russia, Iran, and Turkey who were enemies of each other not that long ago—the three most prominent nations of the soon to come Gog/Magog attack against Israel.
Also because of a United States President who, despite his impulsive idiosyncrasies, has expressed support of Israel through action. President Trump’s official recognition (December 6, 2017) that Jerusalem always has been and always will be the eternal capital of Israel was a bold and long overdue (from previous administrations) implementation of the Jewish Embassy Act of 1995, which both houses of the United States Congress had passed by an overwhelming majority. Then a lightning-fast move (way ahead of the projected schedule) of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14th, 2018—to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary as a nation.
Now it was Israel’s turn to pass a (national) law validating their historical God-given right to possess and govern the land promised as a perpetual inheritance to their patriarchal ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
On July 19, 2018, Israel’s Knesset approved legislation officially completing what unofficially had been accepted by Israeli Jews since the United Nations recognized the Jewish right to a sovereign state. In summary fashion, that law declares: Israel Is a Jewish Nation.
Was the Jewish Nation-State Law Necessary?
Why was this bill even introduced in the Knesset? If Israel is a Jewish State, then why make this obvious fact a law?
Answer: It is a fact, but it wasn’t a law. And the fact is: It needed to be a law. Which is defined (Webster’s) as: “a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority.”
Also, because it wasn’t obvious. Meaning that it (a Jewish Nation) wasn’t acknowledged by Israel’s enemies, by several Western nations, and even by some liberal Jews. And now it is … a law and obvious.
Israel doesn’t have a Constitution as such. However, like the United States, the nation of Israel began with a Declaration of Independence, which proclaims:
“The State of Israel will foster the development of the country for all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”
As with other democratic countries, inhabitants include all residents of that nation; however, a few rights such as voting and holding office are restricted to (legal) citizens. Yet there’s no doubt whatsoever that Israel’s Declaration of Independence in 1948 extended to all Arabs—later called Palestinians—of Israel, in terms of basic human rights.
In 1992, Israel passed the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. Among other things it states: “The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state” (italics for emphasis).
Thus, the newly enacted Jewish Nation-State law is partially duplicative of that Basic Law. But not entirely. In my view, which matches the Israeli majority (58% for … 34% against, the rest undecided), the new law was necessary because the persistent premise of most Palestinians and many Israeli Arabs (citizens of Israel), is that Israel must be exclusively a democratic state … which it is. But not a Jewish State.
That is no different than telling an Italian that Italy is indeed, democratic; however, Italy is not an Italian nation because there are minorities in Italy who don’t think it should be (identified as Italian). If in Rome you wouldn’t want to say that, because the delicious pizza you just ordered may get thrown in your face, toppings and all!
Israel is first and foremost a Jewish nation with national rights no more or less than any country in the world whose greater majority of citizens make that nation distinctive from other nations. Hence, Germans in Germany, the French in France, the English (British) of England, and Americans in America. Granted, the United States of America is unique in that it is the only true melting pot in the world; to which most of our ancestors immigrated from European countries. Thus, our minorities are considered to be non-European ethnic groups.
Israel is the ONLY country in the entire Middle East that affords (across the board) equal rights to its citizens, regardless of race, religion, culture, and gender. This includes 1.8 million Israeli Arabs (citizens) of Israel. Also, 130,000 Druze; the next largest ethnic minority in Israel who trace their heritage back to Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro—whom they revere as a prophet. Even though their main language is Arabic, most Druze identify more with the Jews than with the Arabs.
Israel is often accused by Muslims and even by some non-Islamic nations whose accusers are either uninformed or who deliberately distort facts on the ground, of being an apartheid state. That is absolute nonsense. Israel is nothing like South Africa was for a long time, with 10% of the population (Caucasian) segregating themselves from and curbing the rights of black South Africans (the greater majority). That was true apartheid.
Before we examine the Jewish Nation-State Law up close and personal, let’s first look at:
What Makes a Nation, a Nation?
What are the ingredients that nations are made of; features that distinguish one nation from another?
Webster’s Dictionary tells us that the word nation originates from the Latin word, natio, which means: birth, race, nation. And from natus, “to be born.” Nation is then defined as: “a community of people composed of one or more nationalities and possessing a more or less defined territory and government … characterized by a relatively large size and independent status.”
Nationality is even more important to grasp, because a nation is first and foremost recognized by the preponderant (greater majority) characteristics of its people.
Nationality is defined as: “national character … national status … a legal relationship involving allegiance on the part of the individual and usu. (usually) protection on the part of the state … membership (citizenship) in a particular nation. Political independence or existence as a separate nation … a people having a common origin, tradition, and language” (italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).
From the concepts found in these definitions, we can break down the typical features of a nation into seven basic categories.
Race: Although the post-Flood earth was repopulated by Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth (and their wives!), it’s nonetheless evident that there are four distinctive races on Planet Earth. With Japheth’s descendants splitting into two races. By and large, physical qualities constitute the clearest reference to and understanding of race.
Webster’s defines race as: “a division of mankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type.”
The four races are: Asian, Black, Caucasian, Semitic … the ABC’(S) of race.
With, however, the four racial groupings divided into more specific identities based on the remaining six categories that have contributed to the formation or realignment of nations particularly after World War I and WWII. Two older examples of each race and its nationality subdivisions would be: Asian (Chinese/Japanese); Black (African/Caribbean); Caucasian (British/French); Semitic (Arab/Jew).
Boundaries/Borders: Although a few nations dispute the borders of neighboring countries, boundaries of nations have been delineated and charted across the globe.
With the perceived exception of Israel.
Perceived in the sense that virtually every Muslim nation, both Arab and non-Arab, refutes the British Mandate of Palestine (League of Nations July 1922 affirmation of the Balfour Declaration) and the subsequent November 1947 UN resolution declaring Israel’s right to statehood, both of which were and still are a matter of international law.
Moreover, they do not acknowledge that the Arabs forfeited their right to a (Palestinian) state; because they not only refused to accept those resolutions, five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq) attacked the newborn Jewish Nation the day after Israel’s statehood with the sworn objective of annihilating it. Nor, do they (concerning Israel) acknowledge international law that says: If a “disputed territory” is seized by a nation that is defending itself from unprovoked and/or illegitimate aggression, that territory belongs to the defender.
This indifferent ignorance or deliberate denial of international law is the reason why the Palestinians, all Muslim nations, and even some Western nations have demanded that Israel must “return” (relinquish sovereign control of) to pre-1967 Six-Day War internal boundaries. Which were nothing more than hastily negotiated armistice lines to begin with.
With Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, she reclaimed the Golan Heights, (all) Jerusalem, the West Bank (Judea/Samaria), and the Gaza Strip. Israel kept exclusive control of only the Golan Heights, handing over functional control of the other territories back to Jordan and Egypt, who have given the Palestinians administrative supervision. But the fact remains: Israel’s legal (national) borders are with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt—not with the so-called “Palestinian territories.”
Flag/National Anthem: Every member country recognized by the United Nations has a national flag and most likely a national anthem. Both are proud symbols that visibly and audibly identify that nation as unique among the family of nations.
(Of the 193 member countries of the United Nations, a few of those flags are shown here)
Political: There are several forms of government, yet there are far more countries on Planet Earth than types of government. Which means that some nations have the same style of administration, e.g. parliamentary coalition or dictatorship. Nevertheless, the levels and operation of each government is unique, in some way or another.
Religion: In today’s post-modern society, most nations (especially their governments) do not want to be identified by or with a religion. Except, of course, the Muslim nations in which Islam is, by far, the dominating and distinguishing mark of those countries. Most are Arab (nationality, race) countries, but not all—such as Turkey, Iran, and Indonesia. These non-Arab Muslim nations along with almost all the predominately Arab populated countries have become or are becoming an Islamic State Religion, to some degree or another.
However, practically every nation on earth was originally influenced and identified by, and/or founded on (at least in principle), and/or composed of a population majority which followed one of the world’s most recognized religions or offshoots of those religions. Such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, or simply Polytheism (paganism). Israel is the only nation that espouses Judaism on a national level, which is reflected in its’ Declaration of Independence as previously quoted … based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel.
Even so, Israel’s government is essentially secular; albeit with two smaller parties of the Knesset composed of Orthodox Jews.
Population Majority: Almost without exception, every country on earth is composed of a racial and/or religious entity that constitutes most of the population. Normally, as the majority goes, so goes the government and its political dynamics. Regarding Israel proper, Jews comprise about 77% of Israeli citizens, with Arab Israelis (the largest minority group) and other smaller minorities 23% of the citizenry. Even if the approximate 3.7 million Arabs (a more accurate count as opposed to the inflated census of the Palestinians) in the West Bank and Gaza combined wanted to become Israeli citizens, the Jews would still be in the majority.
Language: I believe most would agree: The single-most distinguishing feature of a nation or nationality is that of language.
Every nation has a major language, with many countries having enacted that language into law as the recognized (primary) speech of the land. We identify the (majority of) citizens in any given country by the language they speak. In France there are the French. In England (Britain) the English. In Spain, they speak Spanish. In Italy we find Italians who converse in … Italian, what else! In Israel, the Jews speak Hebrew; the same language spoken (with modern words added) thousands of years ago.
These seven components that define and distinguish a nation is what Israel’s Nation-State Law is all about and why it was passed.
Israel is a Jewish Nation-State / Or If Preferred as a Question: Is Israel a Jewish State?
The law contains eleven clauses; the first of which covers the three basic principles written into this Jewish Nation-State law, which also goes by the name of the Nationality Law:
- “The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established”
- “The state of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious, and historical right to self-determination”
- “The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people”
The other ten (nationality) clauses reaffirmed such things as Israel’s national flag—the Star of David; Hatikvah, the national anthem; Jewish holidays and days of remembrance; Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital; Hebrew calendar as the national calendar; Hebrew as the official language with Arabic a language of “special status.” Incidentally, most nations don’t have a special status for any of their minority languages.
(Jewish Calendar months have 30 days–360 days a year; with the civil New Year beginning on the 1st of the month of Tishrei (Sept., Oct. of Gregorian calendar)
As with any country in which laws are enacted by whatever legislative margin of approval (vote count) is required, there are always legislators and their constituents who oppose all or part of the bill, usually along party lines. Among Jews, the main opposition came from the liberal left-wing … as expected.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterized the law’s enactment as a “defining moment” of Israel’s history. He explained:
“We enshrined in law the basic principle of our existence. Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, that respects the individual rights of all its citizens. This is our state—the Jewish state. In recent years there have been some who have attempted to undermine this, to undercut our very existence. Today we made it law: This is our nation, language, anthem, and flag.”
Netanyahu also said: “Israeli citizens’ individual rights have been cemented in a number of laws, including Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. These laws guarantee full equality before the law, from the right to vote and be elected to the Knesset to any other individual right in the State of Israel.”
Continuing: “On the other hand, we have never enshrined the national rights of the Jewish people in our land in a basic law until now… What do ‘national rights’ mean? They define the nature of the flag, the anthem, the language and, of course, the fact one of the fundamental objectives of the state is the ingathering of the exiles here, in the land of Israel, which is the essence of the Zionist vision.”
Toward the end of his speech, Benjamin stated:
“Does the determination that our flag bears the Star of David somehow invalidates the individual rights of any Israeli citizen? Nonsense. This statement does, however, ensure that there will be no other flag…. There is already a proposal to replace the flag and the anthem in the name of so-called equality. Many countries are dealing with defiance against the concept of nationality (here, he is commenting on globalism vs. populism or national sovereignty), but in Israel, this undermines our very existence…” (parenthesis mine).
In direct response to criticism from Israel’s Druze community (some of whom serve in the IDF and different levels of government) who felt the law would discriminate against them, Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev poignantly responded:
“You, of all people—you who have been deeply loyal to the State of Israel for decades—should not be fooled by the radical Left. Don’t buy their media spin. Read the actual law. This law doesn’t discriminate against you. You remain equal citizens in the Jewish state, which, as you well know, has nothing but respect for its citizens and especially for its loyal Druze minority.”
She went on to write on her Facebook post that the Nation-State Law, “…doesn’t violate your civil rights or anyone else’s rights—Christian, Muslim, Bedouin or Circassian…. All this basic law seeks to do is complement other basic laws and clarify—to us and to the judiciary (referring to Israel’s Supreme Court which has struck down several Knesset laws), which seems to have forgotten, and to the entire world—that from a national level there is no equality. Israel has and always will be a Jewish state, whose flag bears the Star of David, whose language is Hebrew, and whose capital is and will forever be the united city of Jerusalem. You are equal and respected citizens in this country” (italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).
(Israeli Sport/Culture Minister, Miri Regev)
In that context, two prominent Druze (Israeli citizens) disagreed with others of their community who felt the law was discriminatory. Said Chairman of the Druze Zionist Council for Israel, Atta Farhat:
“No other Druze community has it better that the Druze community in Israel. I implore all of my brethren in the Druze community to avoid the trap of the Left and back the nation-state law as it is…. Since the state’s founding, we have raised our children on Zionism. The silent majority of the Druze population in Israel loves this country. We have been partners with the people of Israel from the days of Moses … and we will continue to be partners in the future.”
Said Druze Israeli Captain (IDF Reserves) Shadi Halouf, head of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association: “As soon as Israel stops being the state of the Jewish people, as some in the radical Left and in the Arab parties want—we will no longer be able to enjoy the freedoms and security level Israel provides us…. I support the nation-state law and I am proud to be a citizen of Israel and a member of the Aramean Christian community, like tens of thousands of others.”
Time and space don’t allow for several scathing Palestinian reactions to this law. Except as quoted by one of the Palestinian Authority’s spokesperson, who said: the law is “racist.” That was to be expected, as the Palestinians often say this and other derogatory things about (Jewish) Israel without needing a specific flash point.
The law is not racist; rather, it is racial. The very existence of Israel is that of a Jewish State—race, religion, government, majority population, flag/anthem, boundaries, language—all the distinctive characteristics of a nation …any nation. Racial is synonymous to national.
In fact, concerning the potential creation of a Palestinian State, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has sworn on more than occasion that (a very close paraphrase): “Not one single Jew will be permitted to live in a Palestinian State.”
Those words are as racist as anything could be.
A photo of Abbas would fit comfortably alongside the words racist, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing … the very concepts of which he (falsely) accuses Israel. See Eye of Prophecy article: Ethnic Cleansing of the Jews … The Real Palestinian Agenda (Posted 9-17-16).
The real Arab narrative has not changed since 1948 … make that since the Balfour Declaration of 1917. They do not want a state of their own unless the (Jewish) Nation of Israel ceases to exist.
Examples & Comparisons
Based on the law itself as well as responses to it, I’ll present just three examples (there could be many more) regarding the rationale and results of this Jewish Nation-state law.
Jewish National Self-Determination: National rights include the authority of a Jewish State to decline (for any reason, but especially impossible non-negotiable demands from the Palestinians or those who support the Palestinian agenda) the creation of a Palestinian State within the established borders of Israel.
The fact remains: The West Bank is nothing more than a 20th century invented term for the region of Israel known as Judea/Samaria. Except for some Israeli housing districts in this beautiful hill country, it is occupied predominantly by Palestinian Arabs (non-citizens of Israel). For Israel to allow this territory (and/or the Gaza Strip) to become a state would be a decision of disastrous consequences to Israel’s security and survival. A few prior Eye of Prophecy articles have addressed this in detail. In fact, the repercussions of a Palestinian state would be (literally) of Biblical proportions. If for no other reason that God himself has declared that the Promised Land must not be divided into any other nation or nations.
The creation of a Palestinian State would be like the confederate states forming a separate nation within the federal geographical boundaries of the United States of America. Whereas, the trigger-point issue between the north and the south was that of slavery, the real underlying problem was that of a few states succeeding from the Union—in direct defiance of the Constitution of the United States. Israel passed the Jewish Nation-State Law because it resembles a Constitution in form and substance.
Hebrew Language: Under this new law, Hebrew is the only official language of Israel.
Arabic has “special status” but no longer can the Palestinians or Islamic nations surrounding Israel demand that Arabic be given equal status, with the residual implication that the Palestinians could lay claim to Israel (or any part thereof) as exclusively their own, for that reason alone. This would be akin to German or Italian communities in the United States demanding that their language on a national level be equal to English. Or Spanish, because the Hispanic minority in America constitutes 17% of the population. To date, the one and only official language of the United States continues to be English.
On a functional level, I don’t see Israel replacing highway and street signs throughout Israel that currently are marked in three languages … Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Rather, it’s the principle of the matter. If Israel wanted all their signs only in Hebrew, they have the sovereign right to do so.
Except for possible exceptions at our border with Mexico, have you seen road signs in America displaying any other language than English? *Note: It’s one thing for private businesses or public entities to accommodate a relatively large minority group with bilingual options. It’s quite another (illegal) matter for them to insist that it be a co-official language of the land.
National Flag/Anthem: Again, we’ll use the United States for comparison. Because we began as a nation of immigrants—continuing to this day (both legal and illegal!)—wouldn’t it be more equitable to have multiple national anthems? For instance: To play the anthem of Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, and Mexico on say an annual rotation basis. After all, a good portion of our population hails from those countries.
I’m thinking your answer would be the same as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Nonsense!
The lyrics of Israel’s National Anthem, Hatikvah are:
As long as deep in the heart,
The soul of a Jew yearns,
And onward to the East
To Zion, an eye looks
Our hope will not be lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem
And then there’s Israel’s national flag—the Star of David. Though the flag and the anthem and other features of Israel’s Nation-State Law are largely symbolic, many of us appreciate the significance of symbolism. In the United States, most of us stand with our right hand over our heart when pledging allegiance to Old Glory—the Stars and Stripes. Or when singing our national anthem.
The Bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart.
Though Scripture records two grievous sins (Bathsheba/Uriah & the Census) to show just how human he was, David’s life’s passion was to seek the Lord God constantly and consistently, despite his failures (Psalm 34, 51, & 63). To trust the Lord for his salvation, no less than Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness (Psalm 18 & 32). To announce the coming Messiah (a descendent of David’s lineage) who would bring salvation to both Jew and Gentile through his suffering and substitutionary sacrifice (Psalm 22). The Messiah who was the Son of God; who would return to Jerusalem as God’s chosen King to rule and reign over the entire earth in righteousness, justice, and peace (Psalm 2, 110, & 118).
Wrote King David: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
David adeptly balanced what we call today, church and state. He skillfully merged the twelve Jewish tribes into the unified nation of Israel. All the while recognizing and relying on God’s divine sovereignty … personally and nationally.
His relationship with the Lord prophetically portrayed what would be the essence and experience of Israel upon her rebirth and upon the (imminent) final redemptive restoration of the Jews to Messiah, the prophesied descendant of David. Many of the Psalms intrinsically reflect this correlation. Such as one of the most contemporarily quoted passages in Scripture, written by King David:
Who better than King David to symbolize (Star of David) the modern reborn nation of Israel which is destined to complete God’s covenants with Abraham and David; that of the whole world blessed through the Promised Child, the eternal King of Israel—Messiah Jesus.
“Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it…. For since their (the people of Israel) rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead” (Romans 11:12 & 15, parenthesis mine).
That’s what Israel is all about, even though many Jews haven’t yet grasped the full significance of their own flag and corresponding destiny. As a nation, they haven’t yet believed and received their Messiah (Jesus) as Lord and Savior. Israel hasn’t been acknowledged by the entire world, including some of the Jews themselves, as a distinctive national Jewish inheritance. But one day soon, all that will change … permanently.
“And so all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:26).
That change is underway before our 20th and 21st century eyes. Beginning with the return of God’s people to Israel in great numbers in just the past 70 years.
“…I will gather the people of Israel from among the nations. I will bring them home to their own land from the places where they have been scattered. I will unify them into one nation on the mountains of Israel… Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God … They will live in the land I gave my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived … forever, generation after generation. And my servant David will be their prince forever” (Ezekiel 37:21-25).
With the most recent development that of Israel declaring what the Bible has announced from the beginning: Israel is a Jewish Nation.
The nation from which Messiah Jesus—”the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)—has come. And to which he will return to rule and reign from Jerusalem on the throne of David, as the King of all kings (Isaiah 9:6-7; Revelation 17:14).
Things to Ponder
Not one of the seven reasons for or distinguishing characteristics of a nation is necessary to unequivocally proclaim Israel as a Jewish nation.
Only one reason is needed: God, himself—who created and owns the entire universe—gave a small portion of the Earth to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The same God who always does what he says he will do, who knows the end from the beginning. Whose prophecies through his prophets have or will come to pass with 100% certainty and accuracy.
The Lord knew and approved the residency of foreigners in Israel and told his people: “You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9).
The very fact that God referred to foreigners in Israel demonstrates that Israel was and still is a Jewish nation. Israel and the Israeli Jews do not oppress minorities. It’s just the opposite. Going so far as granting self-governing privileges to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who have refused Israeli citizenship, something that hardly any country on earth would allow of its non-citizens.
As alluded earlier, Israel is not to be divided (think two-state proposal) among any other people or nation except the Jews. Lest anyone thinks that’s merely a suggestion or may be inconsequential, read with me:
“At the time of those events, says the Lord, when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land” (Joel 3:1-2).
Exactly what encompasses the land of Israel? Modern-day Israel is a good start in the right direction, but the Biblical Promised Land was much greater in scope. Those parameters are delineated in several Old Testament passages; I’m selecting the book of Obadiah, which is less familiar than the others.
Midway through Obadiah, God warns those who seek to harm Israel:
“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads” (Obadiah 1:15).
The last three verses of Obadiah describe much (but not all) of Israel’s original land mass. In parenthesis, the modern-day portion of Israel will be inserted to match the Biblical names, some of which are still the same. Notice that the passage uses the word “occupy.” And does so with a matter-of-fact positive connotation. Not the negative occupation accusation by Israel’s enemies (and even some of her “friends”) that is patently false … Biblically, historically, and currently.
“Then my people living in the Negev (still called the Negev … southern part of Israel next to the Sinai Peninsula which is part of ancient Israel that bordered Egypt and Arabia) will occupy the mountains of Edom (southern Jordan and western part of Saudi Arabia). Those living in the foothills of Judah (land and cities south of Jerusalem, including Hebron) will possess the Philistine plains (Gaza Strip) and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria (the West Bank). And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead (portion of northwestern Jordan and southwestern Syria).
“The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath (ancient Tyre and Sidon … the coast of Lebanon). The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Temple Mount which has belonged to the Jews in perpetuity but currently under administrative control of Jordan and the Palestinians) to rule over the mountains of Edom” (Obadiah 1:19-21a).
(Depicts the ancient and also future borders of Israel during the Millennium)
Guess what (who) comes next?
“And the Lord himself will be king!” (Obadiah 1:21b).
**Two stunning videos of Israel’s National Anthem, Hatikvah. The first one is short–celebrating Israel’s 68th national anniversary at the time. The second video (composed of two renditions, each with beautiful visual scenes of Israel) is longer than the first. Pick one or both.