In Times Like These

An Israeli citizen commented recently that in all his life in Israel, he has never known a time when there was more anxiety, more sense of danger and a greater feeling of insecurity than there is today among the Israeli people. So many perilous prospects exist right now that even the average Jewish person in Israel is more fearful and apprehensive than ever before.

For a start, Israel has been facing a tough diplomatic battle at the United Nations to prevent the emergence of a premature Palestinian state. Most Israelis understand that an independent Palestinian state would energize their Arab and Muslim enemies to unleash more intense militant activity and terrorism. Then there are the international media reports that Israel is secretly preparing to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, such as they did in Iraq and Syria.

The current United States administration even issued a statement indicating that it was “absolutely concerned” that Israel may be preparing to take such action soon. How is that for a supposedly loyal ally ? “spilling the beans” to let the enemy know about such secret plans beforehand? And don’t forget about the widespread Arab Spring, with Arab Muslim rioting creating overwhelming violence in so many nearby Muslim-controlled countries from Tunisia to Egypt to Syria. Israelis have already learned that many of the violent leaders want their citizens to focus their animosity against Israel, and the Jewish people definitely feel the pressure.

Then came the news a few weeks ago that Hezbollah forces in Lebanon are planning a massive attack on northern Israel that’s anticipated to happen in the very near future. With significant help from Iran, Hezbollah has beefed up its military equipment and personnel, and it is confident it can lay siege to several northern Israeli cities and take over the Galilee area. Of course, Israeli military units are in place, ready to defend, but there is the realization that when Israeli forces respond to such attacks, the whole world will undoubtedly again condemn them for “disproportionate action.” Israel just can’t win.

Add to the national anxiety the division among the Israeli people over the recent “prisoner exchange” deal with the Hamas ? trading more than 1,000 militant Arab terrorist prisoners for one Israeli hostage, Gilad Shalit. Half of the country believes it was a good and necessary deal, but the other half believes it was an incredibly lopsided and unfair exchange. They feel that the Arabs now have a thousand more terrorists that will soon be back in business, and that hundreds of Israeli lives could be at stake. Of course, they are right in this observation; but to the people of Israel, the life of one Israeli soldier is more than worth the price that was paid for his release. No question about it: Israel values life ? unlike their hostile neighbors who value death.

We have to include, also, the unprecedented internal demonstrations over economic dissatisfaction in the country. For the first time in restored Israel’s history, Israeli citizens took to the streets in several Israeli cities in large numbers to express their anger over high prices and high taxes. The Israeli government has said there is nothing that can be done to relieve the pain.

Yes, all this is a lot on the minds of Israeli citizens. It is no wonder there is so much anxiety and insecurity. So in the light of all this, I would like to share from my Christian perspective. For this, I go to King Solomon and the account in the Tenach of the dedication of the original Temple. The God of Israel made a covenant statement to Solomon that was important then ? and is still important now. God told Solomon, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.”

That was the word from the God of Israel, the same God who chose Abraham and made a covenant with him to multiply his seed into a great nation and to give them the land of Israel as an everlasting possession. It was a promise from the God of Moses, through whom He delivered the Jewish people from 400 years of bondage in Egypt, and the God of Joshua, whom He helped to conquer the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey, so it could become the permanent home for the Jewish people.

This is also same God who regathered the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth and re-established their ancient nation in their own ancient homeland. It is the same God who has fulfilled His promises through His prophets to protect and to prosper the restored nation. While many Israelis do not see the hand of God at work in their several miraculous military victories to preserve the nation, the truth is that they were all divinely wrought victories.

Israeli government leaders today seem reluctant to acknowledge the working of the God of Israel in the nation’s affairs. Even the religious leaders seem to not want to mix God with political and military affairs. However, the biblical prophets were not just religious spokesmen, they were political spokesmen as well. They all spoke God’s messages to the kings and leaders about the nation’s affairs. Orthodox Jewish people today enthusiastically sing the song, “These are the days of Elijah,” and “These are the days of Ezekiel.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if modern-day Israel’s leaders and people would listen to and heed the messages of Elijah and Ezekiel, to seek and to follow the counsel and instructions of the God of Israel in all the nation’s concerns?

From my biblically based perspective, it is a mistake for the Israeli government leaders to look to the United States or the United Nations for help in matters of national development and national security. It would be more beneficial to the nation to look to the God of Israel for His omniscient direction and His omnipotent help.

Earl Cox is an international broadcaster and regular contributing writer for the Jerusalem Post and other publications. Because of his truthful radio reporting and commentaries, he was named by former Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, as “the voice of Israel to America.”  Recently, Earl was officially given the title of “Good Will Ambassador” from Israel to Christian and Jewish communities around the world by Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.