This month the United Nations General Assembly plans to pass a resolution creating a Palestinian State out of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, with ancient Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, as capital of the Muslim state. (Photo: AP)
The Fatah-Hamas deal will never produce unity or two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace. What it actually embodies is one more not-so-stealthy attempt to wipe Israel off the face of the map.
A wise man once gave the formula for a struggling nation to become great: Start a war with the United States and lose. Sage advice once, but it may not apply anymore.
Today there are never supposed to be clear winners. Conflict must stop short of humiliating either side so that losers can claim victory, and winners can fill the coffers of their former enemies with goodies.
Sound absurd? Then consider what’s taking place today.
Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel, recently declared, “Unless the U.S., Israel and the Palestinians have an alternative, the Palestinian [Quartet peace] plan cannot be won…. If there isn’t anything else, then in September there will be a vote in the UN that will recognize a Palestinian state, just like the UN recognized Israel in 1948.”
Pragmatically, on April 27, Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas hammered out an implausible deal to unify the PA with its former archenemies, Hamas, the terrorist rulers in Gaza.
The deal was designed to create the illusion that the Palestinians have a regime capable of being, as one PA leader put it, ready for statehood.
Truth be told, neither Hamas’s intractable thugs nor Abbas, a Yasser Arafat clone in a suit, have any intention of making peace with the Jewish state.
Indyk’s position that Israel retreat to the pre-1967 “borders” is only the first slice of the proverbial salami before Islamists take Israel apart one piece at a time until there is no Jewish state left.
Prof. Barry Rubin observed, “Hamas is probably quite happy with the idea that many countries—and perhaps the UN—will recognize an independent Palestinian state unconditionally. In other words, there will be a widely, or internationally, accepted Palestine without the need to make peace with Israel. No concessions need be made. The Palestinians will get everything and give up nothing. They will not be bound in any way by border changes or security guarantees. The struggle to wipe Israel off the map can continue. It’s Hamas’s dream come true.”
Buoying the enthusiasm for making the move now must be the spontaneous crusade for freedom ostensibly sweeping the Middle East.
However, the race for undefined change may, in fact, end up moving the region from partially regrettable regimes to insufferable, repressive Islamist dictatorships.
The West has not yet caught on to the fact that the revolution in Egypt was not a win for democracy.
Ousted president Hosni Mubarak—a friend of America and Europe and a respecter of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel—now lives under the specter of a hangman’s noose.
The radical Muslim Brotherhood, implicitly involved in the 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat, Mubarak’s predecessor, has captured the flag; and the free world will have to live with what it naively cheered on.
The same will be true with a Palestinian state.
Hamas terrorists will seize control, as they have in Gaza, and Islamist radicalism will enslave the nation.
Western recognition of the tragic error will come too late.
OCCUPIED OR FORFEITED TERRITORY
The bulk of the argument for non-negotiated Israeli concessions is that the “occupation” of Arab and Palestinian lands must be redressed and the areas returned to their “rightful owners.”
Unfortunately, most of the world’s political, social, and academic elitists have bought into the delusion that forcing Israel to surrender the territories and a hefty chunk of Jerusalem will atone for so-called Jewish transgressions.
In reality, the territories under dispute are not occupied. They are forfeited.
The Arabs lost them in the course of executing wars to annihilate Israel.
It is all but forgotten (and if not forgotten, certainly ignored) that little Israel was forced to fight for its survival multiple times and against overwhelming odds.
The aggressors were over-confident Arab opportunists, such as Egypt, Syria, and (in 1967) Jordan, who launched attacks with one objective in mind: the total destruction of the Jewish state.
They lost; and, in the process, they forfeited the Golan Heights, Judea/Samaria (West Bank), and Jerusalem.
They were the architects of their own defeat. Any other generation would have felt the bullies reaped their just reward.
Not until the current crop of international surrealists took their seats, declaring the losers to be the winners, was the occupation issue even raised.
Indyk also called the pre-1967 lines “borders,” which, of course, they were not.
They were armistice lines, drawn in 1949 when the exhausted Arabs conceded their inability to destroy the fledgling Jewish entity populated by impoverished Holocaust survivors.
So it was agreed that future negotiations between the parties, Jews and Arabs, would be conducted to establish permanent, secure, and defined borders.
The partition plan adopted by the UN in November 1947 created Jewish and Arab territories, with the Arabs getting the lion’s share. The Arabs, however, rejected the offer.
Israel agreed and became a bonafide member of the international community.
Thus, when Mr. Indyk stated that, in September, the UN “will recognize a Palestinian state, just like the UN recognized Israel in 1948,” he neglected to say the UN already did so—in 1948.
It was the Arabs, now dubbed Palestinians, who rejected statehood and opted instead for war.
Now, 63 years, four wars, two intifadas, and innumerable deadly skirmishes later, the Arabs are back.
This time, however, they bring with them a gang of anti-Israel UN compatriots in an attempt to obtain what could not be bought with bombs.
Charging Israel with intransigence and accusing it of blocking the way to peace will not wash. Israel has demonstrated its sincerity time and again.
- In 1979 it ceded the vital Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt in exchange for a “cool” peace. [The Sinai is now overrun by Bedouin gangs who are channeling weapons into Gazan tunnels and trafficking in women over Israel’s southern border. Editor]
- In 2000 Israel abandoned the security zone in South Lebanon, only to see it seized by Iranian-inspired Hezbollah terrorists armed to the teeth.
- In August 2005 it gifted the Palestinians with beautiful homes, thriving farms, and greenhouses when it evacuated the Gaza Strip. Hamas took control and dismantled everything.
Western leaders, far from the scene and farther from having a clue about the situation, keep insisting Israel must make hard decisions for peace.
The concessions Israel has already made were hard decisions. Each was followed by demands to cede even more land in exchange for promises that Arabs have never honored in the past and are not likely to honor in the future.
I’ve heard it sung, “All or nothing at all.” The Arab/Islamic world and UN are cooking up another version: “All [from Israel] for nothing at all [from the Palestinians].”
A BLOSSOM IN THE DESERT
When all is said and done, what will the result be?
Israel will remain the Jewish homeland, while Arab radicals will continue huffing and puffing about orchestrating its demise.
This will, of course, be nothing new. It’s been going on since before Israel was miraculously reborn as a modern state.
Therein is an inscrutable irony.
The history of the Jewish state can be summed up by the phrase against all odds.
Scattered to the four winds for 2,000 years of exile, the Jewish people should not have survived. After the horrors of the 1930s and ’40s, the tattered remnant of Jewry struggled back to its infant state only to be attacked by five Arab nations.
Humanly speaking, these people should not have made it through.
And after six decades of bellicose promises to wipe out what justice and sanity has restored, Israel, against all odds, not only has survived but thrived!
Journalist Caroline Glick validated the point that, despite the ballyhooed pariahstate nonsense leveled against it, Israel is far ahead of the game where the ability to compete and succeed counts:
“According to the latest data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s economy grew 7.8% in the last quarter of 2010. International trade is rising steeply. In the first quarter of 2011, exports rose 27.3%. They grew 19.9% in the final quarter of last year. Imports rose 34.7% between January and March, and 38.9% in the last quarter of 2010. The Israel-bashing EU remains Israel’s largest trading partner. And even as Turkey embraced Hamas and Iran as allies, its trade with Israel reached an all-time high last year. These trade data expose a truth that the doom and gloomers are unwilling to notice: For the vast majority of Israelis the threat of international isolation is empty.”
So why is the most progressive, entrepreneurial, technologically superior, economically stable, Western-oriented, democratic country in the Middle East odiously accused of apartheid behavior by the very countries that should, in fact, admire and emulate its achievements?
Furthermore, why do the democratic nations that benefit most from Israel’s industry, loyalty, and standing as the only real force for freedom in the region choose to coddle its most notorious enemies?
Why do they ask Israel to honor repressive regimes by surrendering its security? Why do they want to put the nation in a perpetual state of war?
Beyond all of the politics, posturing, and wrongheaded thinking, the reality is that the Jewish state endures as a perennial blossom in the arid desert of the Middle East.
That fact brings to mind God’s promise that someday Israel will be fully restored to its place of places and will at last live the vision of Isaiah 35:1: “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”
In this day of faint hearts and failing spirits, we can all be reminded that, against all odds, God’s promises endure forever.
The writer is executive editor for The Friends of Israel. www.foi.org. Reprinted with permission.
As you may know, ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel do not, as a rule, seek employment. They expect the State (our taxes) to pay for their living expenses while they spend their days in Rabbinical studies.
Messianic Jews have found that they seem to have an excess of leisure time spent in persecuting Israeli followers of Yeshua across the country.
Over the last few months, our close friends Asher Intrater and Naama and Serge Kogen have been attacked on several fronts because of their faith in Yeshua the Messiah.
Asher was an elder in our congregation in Tel Aviv for several years until he fulfilled his vision of starting a sister congregation, Ahavat Yeshua (Love of Yeshua), in Jerusalem.
Naama and Serge both found salvation in our congregation, and then followed Asher to work with him in the congregation there.
Both families live in Mevasseret, a suburb of Jerusalem.
One day the police arrived at the door of the Kogens and they found themselves under investigation for proselytizing a 16-year-old girl. Finding nothing, the police dropped the investigation.
However, Yad L’Achim, an extremist anti-Messianic non-profit organization, jumped at the chance to place a full-page ad in a local newspaper with the Kogen’s name and address and accused them of being secret missionaries who illegally converted an underage girl to Christianity.
Converting a minor to any religion other than traditional Judaism is against the law in Israel.
One Rabbi Avraham Chen said that he had been told by “reliable sources” that “missionaries are operating in elementary and junior high schools in Mevasseret, with the goal of severing the connection between young people and their families and, ultimately getting them to convert to Christianity.”
Yad L’Achim has no qualms of publishing twisted facts and imaginative concoctions when it comes to their propaganda against Messianic Jews.
They probably thought up this tale because some children of Messianic Jews do attend school in that area.
Secondly, they plastered posters throughout the neighborhood warning of the “missionaries” Asher, Naama and Serge. They continue to hand out posters at the local mall.
The Ultra-Orthodox threatened to burn the Kogen’s house down, causing the landlord to demand they move. (He later relented and told them they could stay as long as they want.)
The ultra-Orthodox extremists organized a protest in front of the Kogen’s home with signs that read “Missionaries are targeting Jewish souls” and are circulating a petition to pass a law making it illegal to share the Gospel with any Jewish citizen in Israel.
During the protest, the distraught 16-year-old girl who was the alleged target of the couple’s “missionary” efforts, said all of Yad L’Achim’s claims were false.
A journalist from the respected Compass Direct News stated that Donna Lubofsky maintained that she had not converted to Christianity. She wanted to speak at the protest to give her side of what happened, but the organizers wouldn’t let her, she said.
“Why won’t they let me speak?” Donna told Compass at the protest. “They won’t let me speak because what they are saying is untrue.”
The evening after the protest, the Kogens came home to find Donna there with a stack of Yad L’Achim literature that she had collected by hand and ripped to pieces. It was obvious she had been crying, Kogen said.
“This group doesn’t care about this girl at all. They just care about getting to us,” Naama said about her and her husband.
The girl is a neighbor of the Kogens and was drawn to Naama because of the love she felt.
Although Naama didn’t talk to the underage girl about her faith, Donna asked to visit to their congregation. With the permission of the parents, Donna attended for about two months. Little by little, according to Naama, her behavior began to improve.
Yad L’Achim heard about the girl and persuaded the parents to sue the Kogens.
One blogger asked rhetorically if they had been paid by “someone” to initiate the suit.
“They look at us as worse than Christians,” Intrater said. “They look at us as if we’ve betrayed our people and become Gentiles. And they want to annihilate us. We see ourselves as true Jews. We see it as an argument over who is the true Messiah. What we want to say is, ‘Who is the real Messiah?’ They feel hatred toward us and see us as the enemy. We don’t look at them that way. These are our people, and we love them,” Intrater said.
In an article on the Yad L’Achim website titled “Outraged Residents Demonstrate Against Missionaries in Mevasseret,” one of their leaders, Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifschitz warned the public, “We must learn from our enemies; we must fight with all our strength and not give up on any Jew who could fall, G-d forbid, into the arms of the missionaries.”
Rabbi Lifschitz added that their response must be, in addition to shock and prayers on behalf of these victimized Jews, intensive lobbying for Knesset legislation that will effectively ban missionary activity in Israel.”
Letter to the editor of the Jerusalem Post:
Because of my faith in Yeshua, the Messiah, I am standing with Israel against her enemies. This includes such an ad which incites action against the Messianic Jews amongst you. Question: Would you be willing to print the same ad with ultra-Orthodox substituted every time Messianic is used? I am shocked by this ad and that you would print it in your credible newspaper. Thank you for listening. ~ Sondra Hampe, USA
The dirtiest word in the Hebrew language is not four letters. Unfortunately, it is the word “missionary.” The cultural ramifications are complex. There are five basic levels of meaning. Starting from the worst:
Soul Snatchers—Like a cheap sci-fi movie, religious extremists have given the impression that missionaries snatch the souls of innocent Jewish people.
The common phrase is that the Nazis killed our bodies and now you are killing our souls. This is screamed out loud with intense emotion in anti-Messianic demonstrations.
Criminals—There is an anti-missionary law in Israel. It is NOT against evangelizing.
There are two clauses: bribing a person to change his religion, and converting a minor against parental desires. Both charges are absurd but are used manipulatively against us.
Unethical Methods—The image is one of psychologically pressuring people, of preying on unsuspecting minors, of exploiting people in need, etc.
Again, an absurd accusation, yet when repeated enough creates an environment of mistrust and fear when we share our faith with others.
Conversion from Jewish Identity—This is not a spiritual faith for salvation, but a wrong concept of conversion, meaning changing one’s ethnic identity, betraying one’s people, becoming a Gentile, changing religious denomination, and breaking the covenants of God with our forefathers.
Giving Evangelistic Materials—Legitimate distribution of Bibles or gospel material is often grouped together with the above four categories.
The first four categories are not who we are, nor what we do. The fifth is.
When we are asked in Hebrew if we are “missionaries,” the answer is that we fully oppose all the negative definitions, yet we do share our faith with anyone and everyone, in accordance with the law.
The more we study the book of Acts, the more we realize that religious persecution is an inseparable element of true apostolic lifestyle. Three elements that we noticed this week are: inciting a crowd, false witnesses, and accusation of being anti-Jewish. The same was true of Stephen and Shaul/Paul.
Religious leaders incited a crowd against Stephen (Acts 6:12) and Paul (Acts 21:27). In order to cause persecution, people have to become emotional and excited so they will act irrationally.
False witnesses were raised against Stephen (Acts 6:13), and accused Paul of bringing a Gentile into the Temple (Acts 21:29). When a false witness is brought in an environment that does not allow for presentation of facts and evidence, there is no opportunity to refute the statements. The crowd’s anger is reinforced by the false testimony.
Both Stephen (Acts 6:13) and Paul (Acts 21:28) were accused of operating against the Torah, the Temple, the Jewish people or the traditions.
We, as Messianic Jews, have a fervent loyalty to our people, our land, and our covenants. Paul went out of his way to make a vow and a Temple sacrifice to demonstrate this loyalty (Acts 21:21-24). Although this didn’t seem to help, it was important to him, both toward his people and toward God.
We are facing continuing threats from further demonstrations, media reports, false witnesses, and religious leaders. Most persecution leads to a witness for Yeshua (Mark 13:9). We rejoice to take part in persecutions for His name (Matthew 5:11-12).
The primary purpose of these attacks is intimidation.
John describes this spirit as “fear of the Jews.” Nicodemus came at night (John 3:1). Many religious Jews believed in Yeshua but kept their faith hidden (John 7:13). The fear was to be excommunicated from the community (John 9:22). Among the rabbis there were many secret believers (John 12:42). Joseph of Arimathea came in secret (John 19:38). Even the disciples hid for fear behind closed doors (John 20:19).
This was not a fear of the Jewish people, but a demonic spirit of intimidation through offended religious leaders.
An American reporter was present at this week’s protest. He has much experience reporting on persecution in the Muslim world. He called us and said, “I want to apologize. I thought your persecution was not real. Yet I experienced a fear here that I have never seen even in the face of Jihad radicals.”
The good news is that these present-day persecutions are actually drawing people towards us. Many are seeing the injustice. While we continue in love, faith and humility, the Lord is touching the hearts of our people.
SUMMONED TO COURT
On a 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. The whole situation was reminiscent of living out a scene from the book of Acts.
There we were, sitting in a courtroom 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).
- They will hire legal and forensic specialists to accuse us (Acts 24:1).
- 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, 18:1321:28, 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 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 and his wife Betty are the directors of Revive Israel Ministries and pastors of Congregation Ahavat Yeshua (Love of Yeshua). www.revive-israel.org
One of the most significant events ever in Tel Aviv occurred last month.
Hundreds of young believers from Israel, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and from abroad gathered together to worship the God of Israel.
One young Palestinian, a former Muslim, whose face was hidden because he comes from a Muslim village, gave a testimony of finding his Savior Yeshua the Messiah four years ago. And then a year and a half later, he was diagnosed with what appeared to be terminal cancer. He was scheduled for an operation and chemotherapy.
A group of Messianic Jews came to his home even though it was dangerous for Jews to travel into the Muslim area. They prayed for his healing. After the operation, the doctors said they could not explain it, but there was no sign of cancer anywhere in his body. In fact, they told him there was no need for chemotherapy. He has been cancer free for a year and a half.
Jewish and Arab young people prayed earnestly for each other.
The God of peace worked wonders at this conference. Eddie James and Team XTreme cheered them on. The youth left full of fire and resolve to make a difference in this land for their Lord.
This Conference, hosted by Rick Ridings of Succat Hallel Prayer Center in Jerusalem, was seen around the world on God TV.
Through your gifts, Maoz had a significant part in financing this conference. Thank you, Maoz Partners!