On my first trip to Israel in the winter of 2000, I was mesmerized by her history and beauty. My first act, once I crossed the border checkpoint at the Allenby Bridge from Jordan was to fall to my knees and kiss the ground; just a small portion of the land God promised to the people of Israel. I did the same thing on my last trip to Israel once I exited the airport in Tel Aviv. I’m sure those traveling with me must have been a little confused.
It’s not so much the land that I love, but the people. There is something within me that yearns for them and their salvation. These are the people from which my Lord descends. The One Who has saved me from an eternal hell. The One Who was promised to come, and Who will come again. These are the people that have been used, abused, and threatened through the millenniums. These are the people that present day governments love to hate. Even the rise of animosity from those in our own government and country amaze and scare me. I take to heart quite literally the words of God in Genesis 12:3:
And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
I watch with horror as Israel is attacked time and time again with rockets from the Palestinian in Gaza to her south, and Hamas from Syria to her north. The world, including our own government encourages Israel to exercise restraint as if she is the aggressor. Evil lurks within the Middle East, and it’s the neighbors of Israel who fit the description. Israelis desperately desire peace, but not at their own destruction.
Leader after leader has made concessions through the years but to no avail. They have surrendered lands and offered land trades only for each gesture of peace to be rejected. Radicals in Iran and in neighboring Arab countries continuously call for Israel destruction, all the while waiting patiently for UN sanctions to work.
Take note of a few other things that Israel has done, or offered through the years in order to try and establish peace with the Palestinians. In 1967 following Israel’s reunification of Jerusalem, all Arab residents were offered full citizenship, but the majority refused Israel’s proposal. Even those who didn’t accept citizenship still had the right to vote in community elections. Israel offered social benefits which included health funds, and social security services. Palestinians were given the ability to maintain their own educational and social institutions. And Israelis raised the standard of living for the neglected areas once controlled by Jordan offering basic water, sanitation, and utilities. Yet, it seems that we only hear and read how “terrible” Israel has treated the Palestinians.
I wonder how many people know that the Palestinian people never owned the land they were living in prior to the 1967 war. Many would have us believe today that Israel stole this land from the Palestinians and that’s false. The truth is Egypt held most of Gaza, and Jordan controlled the West Bank. Then as it is now, forces outside of Israel attacked her and she simply defended herself. As the old saying goes, “To the victor go the spoils of war.”
How many of us really believe that if foreign countries were raining down rockets on Los Angeles or New York City, even our present government wouldn’t do something to stop the violence? Israel has ever right to protect her people and her interest, not to do so would be suicidal. Let me encourage you to do two things. One, speak out in defense of Israel. Call or write your representatives in Washington. And two, pray. Pray for Israel, the Palestinians, and the Muslim population as a whole. Pray for their salvation in Christ Jesus. Pray for peace and the Lord’s return.