The subject of Israel has rarely been far from my mind for most of my life. One reason for this is that I have been a Christian most of my life and most of the Christians I associated with have been warmly disposed toward Israel because of God’s promise to Abraham. I have also been a Bible student for most of that time and have given as much attention to the Old Testament as to the New, both of which talk much about Israel, including a good deal of unfulfilled prophecy where Israel plays a significant part.
In more recent years, I have seen a gradual shift away from pro-Israel leanings among the Christians I associate with to something more critical (no doubt reflecting changing times) and, for the minority that give the matter much thought, there has been all too often a polarization of opinion, and often this gives rise to awkwardness when opinions differ. As for the liberal secularists, who I also associate with, they have generally always tended not to be sympathetic toward Israel and this is because they see the State of Israel as the oppressors of the Palestinian people who live in the land of Israel. While drawn to the Jewish people because they are chosen of God, I have found myself increasingly more interested in the social justice and barriers to peace issues, as well as the its part on the momentous events being played out in the region. I have sought, in spending time researching the facts, without satisfactory success, to reach a balanced view as to what my position should be.
For those who wish to trawl through my coming up to three years worth of blogs, you will find several that are Israel related, where I seek to come to a view having researched the facts and the various views, lamenting those who present these are not always as balanced as they try to make out, favouring one side or another. I am aware there is much material to sift though and many perspectives to accommodate, and while I do meet fair minded, knowledgeable people, generally they already have taken a view as to the rights and wrongs, whys and wherefores of the situation. I have appealed for people to come and join me in my quest, without pre-conceptions and trying not to be overtly either pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian, being interested in simply seeking out the truth, however uncomfortable that is, although thus far I have not yet succeeded.
As for my conundrum, it is that on one hand I wish to stand with Israel, partly because of my biblical understanding and partly because I see a hate toward all that Israel stands for, which I cannot support. I cannot argue with the Almighty who promised the land of Israel to the descendants of Abraham (the Jewish people) as an everlasting covenant, although He made it clear Israel will only have His blessing if it obeyed his statutes (its exile to Assyria and Babylon is evidence of this). Yet I look forward to it turning again to God and for its best days that is still to come. In principle I agree with the creation of the Israel state (in 1948). Yet I also believe many of the non Jewish people living in Israel are being oppressed by the Jewish people (and regret that Zionist types are often dismissive of this, claiming it is biased media reporting). I see a situation not so dissimilar to that of Jews and Samaritans in Jesus’ day, and regret Jews today, as in those days, do not follow Jesus’ example, based on love and compassion. As a caveat, those same “oppressed” people are pawns in a much bigger game, and I know all too well as a chess player that pawns are the first pieces to be sacrificed in the quest to win the end game. In the case of the Palestinian pawns, they have been badly treated, not only by the Israelis but by their own people.
It is not unreasonable to want peace. It was Jesus who I follow who said “blessed are the peacemakers”. Israel is surrounded by lands that are hostile to it and where often there is unresolved conflict, for example in Syria. For all sorts of reasons, it would be good to achieve peace, not least because Israel is perhaps best placed to challenge the Islamic extremists that are bringing such havoc. It is regrettable that, while bringing Israel to task because of its excesses, the same degree of proportionality is not applied to its neighbours. When it comes to UN resolutions denouncing Israeli wrongdoings (e.g. the latest one Resolution 2334 (23 December 2016) calling for an end to Israeli settlement building) I note the hiatus this causes especially when in this latest instance the USA failed to use its veto, meaning the resolution passed with no doubt far reaching consequences to follow, yet I have still to come to a definitive view as to where I stand on the matter. I confess my alarm at the building of settlements and the disruption this causes Palestinians, but I also note there may be good reasons too and the resolution is politically motivated in order to undermine the State of Israel. When I blogged on the subject, I stated that if I had a vote I may be inclined to abstain but not without first talking to the parties involved and trying to come to a better understanding. How I might (hypothetically) vote is but one aspect of my conundrum. (As I reflect further, and given the politicking, I may well use my veto because if I didn’t the motion will be carried and this will be detrimental to Israel – ed 23/01/17)
One thing I am pretty certain – whether in the news or out, Israel will play a major part in the events that are about to unfold. A change in USA President, from one who is deemed anti-Israel to one who is pro, against a backdrop of regional instability, along with the passing of this latest resolution, makes more change inevitable. I will continue to watch, learn and pray. As for whose side I am on, it is the Almighty’s and I bow to the King (Jesus) who is to come, who will establish peace. His principles include righteousness and justice, peace and meekness, and it is these I will seek to uphold.