In the current bid for the presidency, several key domestic issues are, seemingly, being spread before us at our nation’s dinner table. There are the samplers to whet the appetite – abortion politics, same-sex marriage battles, the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and social security reform, to name a few. And, then, there is the unmistakable House special: our not-so-delectable mounting national debt.
As Americans, we are consumed with our economic welfare and ensuring a fiscally stable future for our children. And rightly so! When setting up household, each of us is expected to learn the essentials of good stewardship, prudent budgeting and wise financial planning. Should we not, then, expect – no, require – our government to do the same?
Yet, setting aside the myriad social and economic concerns on the home front in this campaign, our foreign policy positions should also be of specific interest to us, particularly with respect to the nation of Israel. This tiny yet influential nation has consistently played a critical role in every presidential election in recent history, and 2012 will be no exception.
Not surprisingly, events in the Middle East have a direct impact on us – for some, most notably at the gas pumps. But others also recognize Israel as our consistent and stable ally in an oft-incendiary region and that her safety should be of primary concern, not just from an economic standpoint, to be sure, but also from a spiritual one.
As a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles, we know that even the most rudimentary reading of the Bible reveals the heart of the LORD concerning Israel. All throughout the Book of Zechariah, our God shows Himself to be passionate – even zealous – about “the apple of His eye” [Zechariah 2:8], and has declared promises of blessing regarding her destiny:
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; With great fervor I am zealous for her.’” –Zechariah 8:1
“And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem.” –Zechariah 2:12
Still, many of us, even those with a biblical worldview, look at Israel’s record of strained relationships with her neighbors and think that advocacy is futile. After decades of failed peace negotiations, resolution often appears to be a dangling carrot. Yet, the Scriptures concerning Israel’s fate are positive and definitive:
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.’” –Zechariah 8:7-8
“And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear; Let your hands be strong.’” –Zechariah 8:13
Now, the time has come, yet again, when Israel’s hands must be strong, as the Palestinian bid for statehood went before a largely sympathetic United Nations on Friday, Sept. 23. A clear deviation from the direct negotiations agreed upon in the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, this proposition is one that has severe repercussions for Israel’s security.
The proposed Palestinian state includes the territories of Gaza and the West Bank – the Biblical lands of Judea and Samaria. Due to the fact that the Gaza Strip is presently controlled by the Palestinian political party, a.k.a. terrorist group, Hamas, whose mission on record is to eradicate the State of Israel, recognition of such a state would be akin to dividing up your home between you and your neighbor who plans to kill off your family, and has told you so in no uncertain terms. Moreover, the proposed state would declare East Jerusalem as its capital, and despite suggestions to the contrary, partitioning the city will prove an unviable solution. From the beginning, Jerusalem has been one of the core issues – if not the core issue – in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, mainly over who has claims to the city.
In a recent New York Times opinion piece titled “An Israeli Case for a Palestinian State,” Yossi Alpher argues that U.N. recognition could help to create a new prototype for peace. But he acknowledges that previous attempts failed partly because of opposing historical narratives.
“As Israelis understand it, the Palestinian demand that Israel recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return requires a tacit acknowledgement that the state of Israel was ‘born in sin’ in 1948. And the Palestinian assertion that ‘there never was a temple on the Temple Mount,’ and that therefore Israel has no inherent rights there, is perceived as a denial of Israel’s national and historical roots.”
“Never a temple on the Temple Mount”? “Born in sin”? With such rhetoric, how can one anticipate a peaceful partition of the city? As can be expected, the Bible is anything but silent on the struggle over Jerusalem.
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. –Zechariah 12:2-3
“My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The LORD will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem.” – Zechariah 1:17
“It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” – Zechariah 12:9
In determining our worldview and which voices to heed (for there are many), it is important to look to our Shepherd as the ultimate voice of truth. Regarding the nation of Israel, He has said, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3a). In the United States, we have chosen to bless Israel, standing with her as an ally against her enemies. We know Proverbs 33:12 to be true:
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” – Proverbs 33:12
May the God of Israel protect her borders, and, in this nation, give us wisdom and discernment in the coming year to elect leaders who align themselves with His will, not only for our country, but on a global scale.
by Lauren Levy, Beverly LaHaye Institute Intern at Concerned Women for America