Posts Tagged ‘Isra’el’

History of Israel and Palestine

The information below is taken from multiple internet sites so the information is easily accessed for those who want to know.

It always confounds me that people continue to believe the political rhetoric bouncing around the international community with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Some years ago I was invited by an Arab Israeli woman to speak at a presentation about the history of Israel and the Arab people because she said that I understood more than most the situation in the Middle East. I won’t say that I do because I have very limited understanding of the big picture, but I know enough history and much of it has been covered up by lies perpetuated by the Arab world, especially the so-called Palestinians and their Hamas leaders.

This particular young Arab woman and another one from Jordan explained to me their own family history. Both had grandparents living in Palestine in 1948. Both had a choice to make. One grandfather chose to stay in Israel, become a citizen and continue to raise his family. Today he has a son who manages a bank and granddaughters who work along side Israeli Jews in Tel Aviv as a doctor, lawyer and engineer.

The other grandfather who made his home in Gaza chose to leave Palestine and make his home in Jordan. Because Jordan doesn’t recognize Israel as a legal state, this young woman has relatives that she has never met living in Gaza. She is quite happy being Jordanian and believes her grandfather made the right decision in spite of the separation of family members.

What is Palestine?

Palestine is the name given to the Promised Land of Israel over 2000 years ago during its Roman occupation in order to infuriate the Jewish people.  It has never been the name of a legitimate nation or state, but a geographical term used to describe the region at certain times in history when there was no nation or established state.   Palestine comes from Peleshet meaning ‘rolling’ and is translated Philistine in the Bible.   Peleshet was first used to describe the people who migrated from the area around the Agean Sea and the Greek Islands.  These people created five city-states, one of which is Gaza.  

Modern Zionist Movement

Theodore Hertzl, born May 2, 1860, is considered the father of the Zionist movement promoting Jewish immigration to Palestine.  As a German journalist for a French newspaper, he covered the Dreyfus affair in which a Jewish French Army captain was falsely convicted of spying for Germany.  It was a profound antisemitic incident that divided France for many years.  While in Paris he witnessed crowds chanting “Death to the Jews!” that changed him from a German supporter to one who began challenging wealthy German to Jews to leave Germany and return to Palestine to establish a Jewish state.  He feared that as quickly as France turned on the Jewish people, Germany would too.  Hertzl died in 1904 before he could witness the events that would directly lead to the establishment of the state of Israel.

Balfour Declaration

On November 2, 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration.  This public statement supported the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

This was the first time in modern history that a major government supported a ‘national home’ for the Jewish people.  The wording in the document had no precedent in international law and was intentionally vague with regard to an actual Jewish state.  There were no specific boundaries given though the British government explained the wording did not mean a Jewish home would cover all of Palestine.  The British also wanted to protect the civil and religious rights of the Palestinian Arabs as well as those in the growing Jewish communities.  No one wanted antisemitism to increase or label the Jews as ‘strangers in their native land.’  In essence this was the beginning of the two-state solution that is always being discussed by the international community today.

In 1922 the League of Nations confirmed the Balfour Declaration and it became known as the British Mandate or British Rule.  The boundaries of Palestine included Trans-Jordan which was eventually removed by Winston Churchill.  Between 1919 and 1923, 40,000 Jews arrived in Palestine trying to escape the chaos caused by the Russian Revolution as 100,000 Jews were killed during this time.  

Pioneers in Palestine

Early Jewish immigrants to Palestine were pioneers in the land and began establishing self-sustaining economies.  The Jezreel Valley was drained and converted to agricultural land.  The Jewish National Fund, a charity that collected money worldwide,  purchased more land for growing the ‘national homeland.’ An underground Jewish militia was created to defend outlying Jewish settlements.  During the mid-1920s, more Jewish people arrived in Palestine.  They set up businesses and created the Jewish National Council which oversaw education, health and security.   The Hebrew University was established in Tel Aviv and Technion in Haifa.  While Jewish immigration increased; the Arabs began rioting. 

Who Owns the Land?

In 1929, animosity between Muslims and Jews intensified over the Western Wall (Wailing Wall, Kotel).  Jews were banned from using any furniture such as chairs for the elderly as the religious Muslims claimed the area was their property and that the Jews were seeking control of the Temple Mount.  More riots ensued in the area and eventually the ancient Jewish community in Hebron came to an end.

The Bible first mentions Hebron with the Cave of Machpelah or the Cave of the Patriarchs.  About 4000 years ago Abraham purchased this cave in which are buried Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.  Today it is enclosed by a mosque proving who actually owns the land as Islam did not exist until 600 A.D.   King David ruled Israel from Hebron about 1000 B.C. for seven years before moving the capital to Jerusalem.

Growing the National Homeland

Between the two world wars, using the terms of the Mandate, the British rejected all majority rule or any other measures that would give the Arab population control over Palestinian territory.  In this way they continued to support a growing Jewish ‘national homeland’ along with an Arab presence.   

Before World War II, Jewish immigration increased with an agreement between the Nazis and the Jewish Agency Ha’avara.  Jewish possessions were confiscated in order to purchase 14 million pounds worth of German goods for export to compensate the Jewish immigrants entering Palestine.  Although many Jews wanted to leave Nazi Germany, the Nazis prevented them from retaining any money keeping them from paying the British government the necessary immigration fees.  Still, Jewish immigration continued and the purchased goods helped the economy to flourish. The British used the taxes paid by the Jewish population to build a port and oil refineries at Haifa and the industrial age began in Palestine.

In the 1930s, 250,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine.  Most were German doctors, lawyers and professors.  With the rise of the Nazis and antisemitism, more and more Jews tried to leave Europe, but every country in the world closed their borders to Jewish immigration, including Britain closing Palestine to any further Jewish immigration. 

The White Paper

The “White Paper of 1939” written by Nevill Chamberlain in response to the Arab Revolt (1936-39)  called for the establishment of a Jewish national home in an independent Palestinian state with both Jews and Arabs jointly governing the area.  It effectively rejected the idea of partitioning Palestine.   It also claimed that with 450,000 Jewish people having settled in Palestine, the Balfour Declaration of a ‘national homeland’ had been met.  The document limited Jewish immigration and restricted Jewish rights to purchase land from Arabs.  Both the Arab and Jewish leaders rejected this proposal. 

Civil War in Palestine

On April 2, 1947, Great Britain sent the issue of Palestine to the United Nations General Assembly.  In July 1947, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine met with Jewish and Zionist leaders.  The Arabs boycotted the meetings.

The report from the meeting proposed “an independent Arab State, an independent Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem” to be governed by the international community.  On November 29, 1947, this resolution was adopted by the United Nations and Jewish immigration began again.

The UN General Assembly’s vote created a rift between the Jewish community and the Arabs in Palestine.  Civil war broke out and the Arab nations created the Arab Liberation Army and Egypt joined in this ‘holy war.’ They blockaded all of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem.  Though the Jewish paramilitary (Haganah) had about 100 armored vehicles to try to supply the city, they were destroyed along with hundreds of military men.

The Arabs who lived in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem or other Jewish-dominated areas evacuated east to other Arab areas.   Because the United States withdrew their support for the partition plan, the Arab League believed they could put an end to the plan.  The British decided, however, on February 7, 1948, to support the annexation of Arab Palestine.  The British Mandate would end in May 1948.

The State of Israel is Born

David Ben-Gurion reorganized the Haganah.  Every Jewish man and woman had to receive military training.  Golda Meir raised money from Jews in the United States and through Stalin’s support, they were able to purchase military weapons in Eastern Europe.  Ben-Gurion created an offensive plan, rather than defensive, to establish Jewish land continuity by conquering mixed areas. Tiberias, Haifa, Safed, Beisan, Jaffa and Acre fell, resulting in more than 250,000 Palestinian Arabs leaving the area. This refugee situation caused the larger Arab states to intervene.

On May 14, 1948, the British forces left Palestine ending the Mandate.  The Jewish People’s Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum and proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel in the Land of Israel.  Immediately, the United States and Russia recognized the new state.  The Arab League of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq refused to accept the UN partition plan and began the first Arab-Israeli war.  

The First Arab-Israeli War

The Arabs used the British military equipment left behind and went on the offensive.  Because Israel had not been a state before May 15, they could not buy heavy arms.  The UN declared an arms embargo, but Czechoslovakia violated it and supplied the new Jewish state with heavy military equipment and planes.  The Haganah became the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  

Jewish immigrants, many of them WWII veterans and Holocaust survivors, began arriving in Israel.  They joined the IDF.  After an initial loss of land and its occupation by the Arabs,  the Israelis eventually took back that land along with some of the land that had been included in the proposed Arab state.  At the end of November 1948,  local ceasefires were arranged between the Israelis, Syrians and Lebanese. On December 1, 1948,  King Abdullah announced the union of Jordan with Arab Palestine west of the Jordan River; only Britain recognized the annexation.

Israel signed a truce, no actual peace treaty, with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.  Israel’s new borders  (The Green Line) were established even though the borders were not recognized by the Arabs as legal international borders.  Israel had taken control of the Galilee, Jezreel Valley, West Jerusalem, the coastal plain and the Negev.  The Syrians still controlled a strip of land along the Sea of Galilee originally given to Israel.  The Lebanese occupied a small area on the border between Israel and Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea and the Egyptians kept the Gaza strip as an occupied zone.  Jordan remained in the West Bank where it was originally given land.    

On May 11, 1949, Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations.  Out of an Israeli population of 650,000, only 6,000 men and women were killed in the War of Independence.  According to the UN, 726,000 Palestinians fled or were evicted by Israel.  Those who remained had the option of leaving or becoming Israeli citizens.  

Jerusalem of the Jews

On May 15, 1967, Naomi Shemer’s song “Jerusalem of Gold” began to dominate the Israeli airwaves.  Two days later Syria, Egypt and Jordan and eventually Iraq gathered their troops along the Israeli borders.  On May 26, 1967, Egyptian President, Abdel Nasser, declared that the “basic objective of the battle will be to destroy Israel.”  

On June 5, 1967, the morning before the new Israeli defense minister was sworn in, the Israeli air force launched pre-emptive attacks destroying the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air forces.  They also defeated the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.  By June 11, the Arab armies were defeated and a cease-fire was called for by the UN.  This became known as the Six-day War, once again started by Arab nations losing more land.

Israel gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank.  The Sinai oil fields made Israel self-sufficient in energy.  East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel.  Residents were given permanent residency status and the option of applying for Israeli citizenship.  For the first time since the end of the British Mandate, Jews were free to visit the Old City of Jerusalem. For the first time in centuries, they were allowed to pray at the Western Wall.  In Hebron, Jews regained access to the Cave of the Patriarchs for the first time since the 1300s.  Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem also became accessible.

Land for Peace

On November 22, 1967, the UN Security Council adopted the ‘land for peace’ concept which called for “just and lasting peace” based on Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories in return for the end of all states of belligerency, respect for the sovereignty of all states in the area and the right to live in peace within secure, recognized boundaries.  The resolution was accepted by both sides, but with different interpretations.  This has been the basis of all subsequent peace negotiations.  

“Land for Peace” is based on Israel Giving Up Land for ‘peace from their neighbors.’  This concept implies that Israeli withdrawal is linked to its neighbors’ willingness to formally make peace.  This never actually takes place because even though Israel gives up land, its neighbors still do not recognize their sovereignty as a nation. 

On June 19, 1967, Israel offered to give up the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan in exchange for peace.  Their offer was rejected by the Arab States: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”

Yom Kippur War

On October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in what is known as the Yom Kippur War.  They wanted to regain the land they lost in the war of 1967: Egypt wanted the Sinai and Syria wanted the Golan Heights even though they were offered the return of these lands for peace.  Because the war was started on a high holy day, Israel’s losses were great, however, in less than 24 hours, they mobilized two armored divisions which soon had the Syrians retreating. The Israelis captured territory deep inside Syria almost to Damascus.  Ten days after the start of the war, Israeli forces penetrated Egyptian defense lines and came close to Cairo. Eventually through diplomatic talks, Egypt and Syria regained a portion of their territory and UN buffer zones were established between them and Israel.  Israel withdrew from the Sinai as part of the peace agreement facilitated by the United States and retained control over two-thirds of the Golan Heights.  In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights.

Testing Land for Peace

In 2005, the forced eviction by Israel of its settlers and military forces from the Gaza Strip was a ‘test case’ of ‘land for peace’ with the Palestinians.  Seventeen Israeli settlements  known as Gush Katif with 8,600 residents were forcibly removed from their homes on August 15, 2005.  On September 12, 2005, the Israeli Army withdrew from each settlement up to the original Green Line.  All schools, libraries, community centers, office buildings factories, and greenhouses which could not be taken apart were left.  Synagogues were burned by the Palestinians, “The looting and burning of the synagogues was a great joy… It was in an unplanned expression of happiness that these synagogues were destroyed.”

Later, it was reported that the evacuated Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip were transformed into military bases used by Palestinians to fire rockets at Israeli cities and train for attacks against the Jewish state.  The ‘test case’ for ‘land for peace’ didn’t work.

After the withdrawal from Gush Kativ, the Palestinian Authority took control of Gaza.  On January 25, 2006, Hamas won the elections in Gaza and the West Bank.  Rockets launched against Israeli targets continued from the beginning of the expulsion and have increased since that time.  The area is now being used to smuggle weapons into Gaza through tunnels that are also used to kidnap Israeli soldiers.  

Jerusalem and the Golan

After nearly three thousand years, on December 6, 2017, United States President Donald Trump announced the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the planning of the relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On March 28, 2019, he recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Even though Israeli control over the area has not been challenged, this policy will not change 50 years of international views of the Golan Heights as being occupied territory.

What is important to remember is that Israelis and Arabs do live side-by-side peacefully in Israel. It is the media and the international community that would like the world to believe otherwise. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are governed by the terrorist group Hamas and their ultimate goal, along with most of the surrounding nations is not peace with Israel, but a complete destruction of the country and its people.

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

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The Olive Tree of Israel

Hebrew Word Pictures

Olive or zayit – zayin, yod, tav

– cutting the finished work of the covenant

The cultivated olive tree is an evergreen-type tree that grows 18-20 feet high with an extremely long life expectancy of over one thousand years.   If an olive tree is cut down, new branches will grow from its roots creating numerous trunks from the roots that over centuries become intertwined and give the tree an interesting appearance. 

The olive tree  is such a noble tree that when the trees discussed who would be king of the trees, the olive tree was chosen.  It did not take the honor as it did not want to lord itself over other trees and forsake its precious oil.  Olive oil was extremely important in Isra’el as it was used not only for cooking and skin care, but also for anointing priests and lighting the Temple menorah.

“Once the trees went out to choose a king to rule them. They said to the olive tree, ‘Rule over us!’ But the olive tree replied, ‘Am I supposed to leave my oil, which is used to honor both God and humanity, just to go and hold sway over the trees?’ (Judges 9:8-9).   

The olive tree is known for its fruit which is harvested in the fall during the ‘appointed time’ of ingathering.  The olive branch was added to the branches in the lulav at the Feast of Tabernacles.  All of the k’ruvim (cherubim) in Solomon’s Temple were carved from olive wood.  Jewish tradition claims the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden was an olive tree and, often times in synagogues the doors to the ark that holds the Torah scroll has olive tree decor. 

Olives are harvested by beating or shaking the tree.  The fruit is then pressed between stones, rolled or smashed with the feet of harvesters.  Once impurities like sticks and leaves are removed, the pressed oil is put in wicker baskets that act like a sieve and allow the oil to flow through catching the pulp.   The oil obtained from this first pressing was used for holy purposes in the Temple.   The remaining pulp was heated and pressed again for a lower grade oil.  Today, these two oils are known as extra virgin olive oil, the purest olive oil, and refined olive oil that goes through the extra process of heating and refining.  

“When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow” (Deuteronomy 24:20).

Although olive trees are shaken or beaten in order to get the fruit to fall from the branches, they are only to be beaten one time.  What remains on the tree is for the foreigner, the orphan and the widow.  Thus, the fruit of the olive tree and its oil was not only for Isra’el, but also for those who needed provision whether they were the poor of the Land or the foreigner. 

Olive oil is symbolic of the blessing that Isra’el would have in the Promised Land.  It is also symbolic of the Spirit of Elohim which is used for anointing people for holy positions and to heal the sick (James 5:14).  It is also known as ‘the oil of joy and gladness’ (Isaiah 61:3).  

“He will love you, bless you and increase your numbers; he will also bless the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground — your grain, wine, olive oil and the young of your cattle and sheep — in the land he swore to your ancestors that he would give you” (Deuteronomy 7:13). 

The first olive tree is recorded after the flood when Noah sends out a dove to see if the waters had receded.  The dove returned with an olive leaf and Noah knew the water had somewhat receded.  After seven days, he sent the dove out a second time and it did not return.  He knew it was time for his family and the animals to leave the ark and start life again. 

“When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth” (Genesis 8:11).

Noah had a son named Shem.  In Hebrew, shem means ‘name’.  HaShem or ‘the name’  is most likely how Noah referred to Elohim as no specific name was given to him  for the shem of God.   From Shem descended the ethnic group known as the semites who became the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. From Jacob came the 12 Tribes of Isra’el one of which was Judah and from whose lineage Elohim’s promised ‘Seed’ would come.  One small olive leaf on one olive tree after the flood foreshadowed the Olive Tree known as Isra’el.

“Adonai once called you an olive tree, beautiful, full of leaves and good fruit”  (Jeremiah 11:16-17).

The Wild and Cultivated Olive Trees

The wild olive tree is small and worthless in its natural state.  Unless it is properly taken care of, it will not produce good olives.  In order to produce an abundance of olives, it must be grafted into a cultivated olive tree.   My husband explains ingrafting with walnut trees, one type of walnut has good fruit and the other has a strong root system.  When a weak branch from the good fruit walnut is grafted into the strong tree, it gets its nourishment from the roots and sap of the strong tree.  It will still bear its unique walnut fruit, but only through its dependence on the natural tree.  The original tree also benefits from the production of good fruit.  If the grafting doesn’t take, the ingrafted branch will fall off and die. The same explanation holds true with olive trees.  The small wild olive is grafted into the stronger cultivated olive giving it life and good fruit as well as bringing fruit to the cultivated olive tree.

Olive Tree of Israel

On the Olive Tree of Isra’el, the natural cultivated branches on the tree consist of Israelites from all the 12 Tribes of Isra’el – from Judah and Levi to Asher, Benjamin, Naphtali and Reuben.  Because they lack faith, the majority of Israelites (Israelis) have not accepted Yeshua as their Messiah, they have been blinded to the truth. Until the veil over their minds is removed, they cannot see Yeshua as their Redeemer.  These Jewish branches have been cut off the Olive Tree while wild olive branches or non-Jews from the nations who have faith in Yeshua have been grafted in.   If the non-Jewish believers become arrogant over the natural branches that were cut off, they too can be removed from the tree.  This should cause serious introspection in the hearts of non-Jewish believers especially when they call the Jews ‘Christ killers’ and blindly accept anti-semitic doctrines and replacement theologies.  Natural branches who put their faith in Yeshua of Nazareth are easily grafted back into their own Olive Tree.  When the two branches grow together they intertwine and appear as one tree pulling their water from the same root and producing fruit (Romans 11:11-24).

The Golden Menorah

The prophet Zechariah had a vision of golden Menorah with seven lamps.   There are two olive trees, one on the left side of the Menorah and one on the right. The angel explaining the vision says the Menorah is symbolic of the Temple being rebuilt ‘Not by force, and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says Adonai-Tzva’ot” (Zechariah 4:6).  This would be the Temple in Ezekiel’s vision, the Temple for the Millennial Kingdom.

The olive trees had branches that dispensed golden oil through golden spouts.  According to the angel they are “Those are the two who have been anointed with oil; they are standing with the Lord of all the land” (Zechariah 4:14).  These are the two witnesses of Elohim at the time of the restoration of the Temple.  These two witnesses are referred to in Revelation during the time of Tribulation.    

“Also I will give power to my two witnesses; and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth.”  These are the two olive trees and the two menorahs standing before the Lord of the earth.  If anyone tries to do them harm, fire comes out of their mouth and consumes their enemies — yes, if anyone tries to harm them, that is how he must die” (Revelation 11:3-5).

The Spirit of Elohim anoints two witnesses through the symbol of golden olive oil. Golden olive oil is extra virgin olive oil infused with gold flakes.  Extra virgin olive oil that comes from the first pressing of olives and mixed with golden flakes from a refining fire becomes a special anointing by Elohim. 

There is speculation these two anointed witnesses may be the two men who never tasted death:  Enoch and Elijah.  Enoch lived before the flood and would be a witness to the water judgment in the days of Noah.  He ‘walked with God and was no more’ (Genesis 5:24).   Elijah lived in the post-flood Isra’el.  He was taken into the heavenly realm by a chariot of fire perhaps symbolizing the final judgment by fire.  Enoch could be symbolic of the wild olive tree while Elijah symbolizes the cultivated olive tree.  Together, Jew and non-Jew would prophesy to the world the salvation of Elohim.

Perhaps the two witnesses are the Jew and gentile, the one new man in Messiah, testifying to the world about Yeshua (Galatians 3:28). Through his death and resurrection, the pressing of one great olive, he brings the nations together with Isra’el fulfilling Elohim’s promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed through him.   From one leaf that was plucked from a wild-growing olive tree after the flood, the roots brought forth a thriving Olive Tree.  The pressing of the olives brings forth the pure golden olive oil that lights the Menorah during the Millennial Reign of King Messiah.

The Israelites pounded olives to make oil.  When pounded, the olive loses its physical appearance and only its essence is extracted.  On the Olive Tree of Isra’el there are natural branches along with wild branches.  They all produce the same fruit – olives.  The root of the Olive Tree is Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs of faith and promise.  From them came the nation of Isra’el, the natural olives, who have been relentlessly pounded through the millennia by severe persecution and near annihilation.  It began with slavery in Egypt and Pharaoh, continued with Haman in Persia, the Syrians and Antiochus Epiphanes, the Spanish Inquisitions through the Holocaust in Europe.  Wild olives grafted into the Olive Tree have also been pounded through persecutions leading to martyrdom from Stephen until today in countries where Christians are being relentlessly murdered for their faith.  The next and greatest pounding of the olives will come during the Tribulation.  Some olives will be chosen to proclaim the name of Yeshua to the world; others will lose their heads.  With each pounding of the olives, their essence remains and the pure oil of their faith  continues to light the Menorah that shines brightly in the darkness.

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

HaTikvah – The Hope (Video)

Using the Israeli National Anthem, HaTikvah, we share some video highlights of our family’s visit to Israel in 2014.

©2014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

A Little History – February 3

As I’ve talked to many people these past weeks about our little excursion to Israel, I get different reactions.  Most are excited for us while others have concerns for our safety.  After watching some DVDs my husband purchased about the land of Israel, its history, modern life, anti-semitism, and media fallacies, I began wondering what people actually know and understand about the modern Israel.  

new_jersey

Most people know that the modern state of Israel was born in 1948.  It is a small plot of land about the size of New Jersey.  Newspapers, internet sources and TV are the most common ways to get information about this little country.  What most people don’t realize is that there is a lot of fiction mixed in with the facts.  Though people living in Israel are always under the ‘threat’ of war, they are a free nation, a democratic state, that has many western ideals even though they are located in the Middle East.

The biggest issue looming over Israel today is their right to the land.  The word ‘occupied’ has two faces and one can wonder ‘who is occupying whom’.   With every new and past archaeological discovery, the connection of Israel to the land and Jerusalem becomes more obvious and supports Biblical history.  So who’s land is it?

Historically, it’s the Jews’ land.  There has always been a Jewish presence in the land even after the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70.  By the eleventh century, there were Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Tiberias, Rafa, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa, and Caesarea.  Though the Crusaders massacred many Jews, they rebounded and new generations of  Jews immigrated to Jerusalem and the Galilee.   Their communities continued to grow  until the 19th century birth of Zionism.  Even today, thousands of Jewish people have geneaological roots to the Land and are known as sabras or ‘natives.’

Practically, it’s the Jews’ land. Modern Israelis have turned a desert environment into a fruitful land. They export more fruits and vegetables than any nation around them.   Technologically, their research and development in agriculture, computer science, electronics, genetics, health care, optics, engineering and solar energy is the highest in the world.  Because of their precarious place in the middle of those who want to destroy them and arms embargos that do not help them,  Israel has become a broad-based indigenous arms industry.  Along with  fiber optics, robotics, thermal energy night vision technology, they have developed military technology like the Iron Dome System, Uzi submachine gun, the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system and their own aircraft like the Kfir, Arava and Nesher.   

For humanitarian reasons,  it’s the Jews’ land.  Just like every other people in the world, the Jewish people should have a place to live, a land to call home where their traditions and cultures flourish.    If they don’t live in Israel, then where in the world can they live? No other country really wants them and  no other country claimed that land until they wanted it for their own people.

For security reasons, it’s the Jews’ land.  The wars the world faces now are not against one or two sovereign nations, but against terrorists who move from one country to the next.  They are nearly invisible and we need all the allies we can get.  Israel has fought four wars in which it has never been the aggressor, but the protector of its citizen and land.  It is a resilient nation with strong warriors because it has always had to defend its land.  More importantly, it is a nation that  has experience and expertise  in dealing with terrorism and terrorists.  They have become and should be considered  a roadblock to terrorism in the Middle East and the world.

For Biblical reasons, the lands belongs to the Jews.  God gave it to Abraham as an inheritance for his descendants.  The land of Israel was distributed to the 12 sons of Jacob. Over 3000 years ago, King David established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  The first and second Temples were built in Jerusalem.  The first was built by King Solomon (a Jew) and the second by King Herod (born in Judea).  Jews constitute the majority population in Jerusalem and their history and culture is documented in every archaeological site in the land of Israel.

There are those who would scoff at the Bible and call the historical accounts myths or try to rewrite history to make the Jewish people ‘foreigners‘ or ‘occupiers’ in their own Promised Land.    For the skeptics, let’s review a little modern history.*

The Balfour Declaration of 1917.  This was a letter from the England’s Foreign Secretary Balfour to Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community for the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

There is history as to why Britain supported the Jewish people’s right to a homeland that includes a man named Chaim Weizmann.  He invented a product that Great Britain used to help them in World War I.  Had they not been able to manufacture this product, they would have lost the war.  Chaim Weizmann was not just a scientist, he was also the leader of the modern Zionist movement.

At the end of World War I, the League of Nations (which became the United Nations) created the Mandate for Palestine and entrusted it to Great Britain.  Its purpose was to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine – Land of Israel.  The mandate called the land west of the Jordan River, Palestine;  the land east of the Jordan River, Transjordan.  Transjordan remained under British control until 1946.  Part of the Golan Heights was given to the French Mandate of Syria.

A national homeland for Jews was strongly opposed by Arab nationalists. Their resentment of a Jewish state turned violent.  Jewish transports were attacked, fields and forests burned and unprovoked attacks (terrorism) occurred against the Jewish population.  All attempts for open discussion were unsuccessful and caused more division between the Arabs and the Zionist movement.   In 1937, the British government recommended a two-state solution. The Jewish leadership accepted the idea of partition and created an agency to work with the British government.

Arabs, not wanting the two-state solution, continued rioting forcing the British to limit all Jewish immigration with “The White Paper”.   Unfortunately, this limiting of immigration happened in 1939 and ultimately denied Jews a place of refuge from Nazi persecution.  When World War II began, David Ben-Gurion declared ‘war’ on the “White Paper.” Jewish people began ‘illegally immigrating’ war refugees and eventually Holocaust survivors.  Between 1945 and 1948, about 85,000 Jews were brought into the Land despite blockades and border patrols.  The movie Exodus gives excellent historical examples of these blockades and border patrols and the plight of the Jewish people who had no homeland.

The conflict between the Arab and Jewish communities regarding a two-state solution or any solution was set before the United Nations in April 1947.  The United Nations called for the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states in Palestine on November 29, 1947, with Jerusalem to be placed under international administration.

The Jewish Agency and most Jews accepted the proposal; the Arab leadership rejected it.  Those Jews who did not accept the solution claimed that dividing their homeland was illegal and invalid.  Jerusalem would forever be the capital of Israel and the Land should be restored to Israel.

Arab militants began to violently attack the Jewish communities in order to frustrate the partition resolution and prevent the establishment of a Jewish state.  The Jewish defense organizations were able to defeat most of the attacking forces and gained control of the entire area allocated for a Jewish state.

On May 14, 1948 when the British Mandate came to an end, the Jewish provisional government declared the independence of the State of Israel.  Civil rights were granted to everyone within its borders whether Arab, Jew, Bedouin or Druze.  No matter what your nationality, you became an Israeli citizen.

We will be visiting a young Arab woman in Israel.  Her family has generational roots in the Land of Israel.  When the British Mandate came to an end, her grandfather was given the option of leaving the country or staying and becoming an Israeli citizen.  He chose to stay and become a citizen.  Today, this young woman is a full-fledged Israeli citizen living peacefully in an Israeli town along with other Israelis, Jews and Arabs.  She has every right that an Israeli citizen does including voting and going to Israeli universities to study.  The only thing she is not allowed to do is serve in the Israeli Defense Forces.  To say or believe that ‘it can’t work’ between Arabs and Jews is not true, it does work.  We look forward to meeting her very, very large family.

Immediately after declaring Israel as a new state, their five neighboring Arab nations attacked.   Armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Transjordan invaded the newborn state of Israel.   Though many countries, like the United States, supported the creation of Israel, they were not willing to help the new nation protect itself from its enemies.  The U.S. created an embargo so that Israel  would not have the means to  defend themselves and, in the process,  kill Arabs (or Arabs steal the weapons and kill Jews).  When they declared their independence, Israelis didn’t have a single cannon or tank.  Its air force consisted of nine obsolete planes.  Although the Israeli military at the time had 60,000 trained fighters, only 18,900 were armed for war.  The Jews were forced to smuggle weapons and make their own.   (The Zion Chronicles by Bode Thoene are an excellent series relating historical events from the end of the Holocaust through this first war for independence.)

The Arabs, however, had no problem obtaining weapons.  Transjordan was trained and armed by the British and led by British officers.  The Arab war to destroy Israel failed.  Because of their unbridled aggression, the Palestinian Arabs ended up with less territory than they started with.  If they had just accepted the partition ….

The Arab countries of Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria signed armistice agreements with Israel in 1949.  Iraq was the only country who did not sign an agreement and withdrew its troops.  These armistice agreements did not create a permanent peace situation in the Middle East and countless blockades and terrorist attacks continued.

In May 1967, Cairo radio announced “The existence of Israel has continued too long.  The battle has come in which we shall destroy Israel.”   During the next month hostilities rose between Egypt and Israel (and Jordan).  Words from the Iraqi leader at that time were no different than what we hear today, “We are resolved, determined, and united to achieve our clear aim of wiping Israel off the map.” 

On June 5, 1967, Israel was alone in the Middle East.  They decided to attack Egyptian, Jordanian and Iraqi airfields leaving several fighters to protect their airspace.  By the end of the first day, nearly the entire Egyptian and Jordanian air forces, and half of Syria’s were destroyed on the ground.  The battle moved to the ground where some of the greatest tank battles were fought in the Sinai desert.

King Hussein received a message from Israel’s Prime Minister telling him that they would not attack Jordan unless he initiated hostilities.  When Jordanian radar picked up a cluster of planes flying from Egypt to Israel, the Egyptians convinced the Jordanians that the planes were theirs on their way to attack Israel.   King Hussein thought he was joining forces with Egypt and ordered the shelling of West Jerusalem.  The planes were actually Israeli and were returning from their ground attack on Egypt’s air force.

Within three days, Israel captured Jerusalem from Jordan.   The Jewish people returned to their historic capital from the days of King David.   At the Western Wall, the Israeli Defense Force’s chaplain blew the shofar to celebrate the event.

Palestinians living in the West Bank fled to Jordan to avoid being caught in the war.  Some Palestinians who preferred to live in an Arab state rather than under Israeli military rule also left.   Israeli forces ordered a handful of Palestinians to move for ‘strategic and security reasons.’  They were allowed to return at a later date, but resulted in a newer and bigger refugee problem.

Another young woman we know is from Jordan.  Her family lived in Palestine – Gaza.  Her grandfather was given the option of staying or leaving just like the other young woman’s grandfather.    This man chose to leave and move his family to Jordan.  This young woman has relatives in Gaza that she has never met.  She has no desire to go there and considers herself a Jordanian, not a refugee Palestinian.  She has assimilated into the Arab Jordanian culture.

The war of 1967 continued for several more days and became known as   “The Six-Day War”.    Israeli forces in the north were in a position to take Cairo, Damascus and Amman, Jordan.   They did not do this because they had no desire to fight in the Arab capitals. They had captured the Sinai peninsula in the south and the Golan Heights in the north and the Gaza Strip along with the West Bank.  They had conquered enough territory to more than triple their size.  They were able to unify Jerusalem.   They ruled more than 750,000 Palestinians who were hostile to them, nevertheless, many families were reunited and tens of thousands were allowed to return home.

This war did not conclude with a peace agreement with their neighbors.  Instead the Arab nations declared three No’s: No peace, no recognition, and no negotiation.”  These three No’s continue today if one truly listens to the Arab voice in the ‘Roadmap to Peace’ talks.  Israel is always willing to concede land for peace, but it’s never enough for the Arab Palestinians.  They want Israel gone, not just some of the land.

The Yom Kippur War of 1973 was followed by  continued terrorist attacks and suicide bombers.   With international pressure, Israel has conceded more and more land – some that they actually won in wars like the West Bank, Sinai peninsula and the Gaza.   No other country in the world would ever return land they gained through war and the loss of life; no other country would offer humanitarian support for ‘enemies‘ within their own borders.   Yet this is what Israel does.

Peace agreements and recognition of Israel as a state still remains a problem.  If one wants to travel to Israel and then to Egypt or Jordan or Morocco, they must go to the Arab countries first.  Most Arab countries will not allow entry into their country if you have an Israeli Visa stamp because they refuse to recognize Israel as state or ‘its right to exist.’  For the Arab students we met last year, if they want a reunion, they must go to Turkey or Armenia.  Only the Israeli girl – the one from a democratic nation –  can go anywhere and return home.

Twisting of news events and photograph captions happens daily.  The media is fearful to print the truth about the Israeli Arab issues because of an Arab reprisal.  No one, not even the United States wants another 911.   Reporters don’t want to be kidnapped and killed by Arabs who don’t want the truth out.  So, they always make Israel look like the bad guy or the Goliath trying to rid itself of little David.  The reality is that Israel is the David surrounded by many Goliaths trying to wipe them off the map.   And, there is history in what happened to Goliath when little David tried to defend his land.

For those nations that do not recognize Israel’s statehood, they do not believe Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorists who attack innocent, unsuspecting people. The news uses the Arab buzz words ‘Israel’s right to exist’ to turn international opinion against Israel.   This is the new anti-semitism.  Before Israel became a nation, Jewish people – individuals, families and communities were exterminated from Roman times to the Crusades in the Middle East, the Inquisitions in Spain, the pogroms in Russia, and  the Holocaust in Europe because these nations didn’t believe the Jewish people  had the ‘right to exist’.  With the formation of a homeland for all of the descendants of these people, it is postulated that this little nation of  Israel doesn’t have a right to exist.  I’ve actually heard comments from one or two world leaders who are happy the Jews are all in one place because it makes it easier to exterminate them all at one time.

So, what does God say about all of this?

A Great Nation Promised to Abraham with Land

Genesis 12:2-3 to Abraham: “I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing.I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Genesis 15:18 “That day the LORD made a covenant with Abram: “I have given this land to your descendants — from the Vadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River….”

Genesis 17:7 “I am establishing my covenant between me and you, along with your descendants after you, generation after generation, as an everlasting covenant, to be God for you and for your descendants after you.”

Israel is to Remember the Covenant

Genesis 13:14-17 You descendants of Isra’el his servant, you offspring of Jacob, his chosen ones: he is YHVH our God, His judgments are everywhere on earth. Remember his covenant forever, the word he commanded to a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham; the oath he swore to Isaac,  and established as a law for Jacob, for Isra’el as an everlasting covenant: “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your allotted heritage.”

No Peace Agreements

Exodus 23:31-33 “I will set your boundaries from the Sea of Suf (Red Sea) to the sea of the Philistines and from the desert to the [Euphrates] River, for I will hand the inhabitants of the land over to you, and you will drive them out from before you. You are not to make a covenant with them or with their gods. They are not to live in your land; otherwise they will make you sin against me by ensnaring you to serve their gods.”

Note: The contemporary word “Palestinian” comes from the Biblical word “Philistine.”  In the Bible, Gaza is mentioned 19 times and Philistines 246 times.  These people were a constant threat to Israel in the Bible with the most famous account being David and Goliath, the Philistine from Gaza.

1 Samuel 17:4 “A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.”

Do Not Give the Land Away

Exekiel 48:14 “They may not sell, exchange or alienate any of this choice land; because it is holy, for YHVH.”

Ezekiel 48:29 “This is the land you are to distribute by lot to the tribes of Isra’el for inheritance, and these are their portions,’ says Adonai Elohim.”

God’s View of the Nations Who Hate His People

Psalm 2 “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up  and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles. … The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” … Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.  Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction for his wrath can flare up in a moment….”

Just this past Thursday, the United States Secretary of State, John Kerrey, made the demand that Jerusalem become the Arab capital.  Thousands of Jews gathered at the Western Wall, the remnant of the Second Temple, and prayed to God that the heart of their own prime minister might come to realize that they cannot give up Jerusalem to anyone. It’s the center of their history and their faith and God told them not to do it.    Just like that day in 1967  when they gathered at the Western Wall celebrating their return to their holy city with the shofar, they gathered on Sunday and blew silver trumpets to let the world (the U.S.) know, they will not give up the right to control the city of Jerusalem. 

According to the prophets in the Scriptures,  the only time Israel will truly be at peace is when the Messiah returns.  He will rule and reign from Jerusalem for a millennia and there will be no question then as to who ‘owns’ the Land.  He will rule with an ‘iron scepter’ which means that even as the King of Kings, the nations will refuse to submit to his authority.  Still,  the coming of Messiah Yeshua should be the hope of all people – Jewish and non-Jewish who want peace in this little middle eastern country that has a longer, more resilient history than any other nation in the world.

Though the Jewish people have not yet been corporately redeemed in Yeshua and walk in rebellion to the commands of the Lord, their time is quickly arriving.  Though there will someday be a New Jerusalem to replace the Old City, the final ingathering for God’s Chosen People has begun and He is bringing them back to the land He promised them. As the days go on and daily more prophetic events unfold in the Promised Land, always stand with Israel for they are the evidence that God exists and the Bible holds not only historical promises for Israel, but a future as well.  Remember: those who curse Israel will be cursed, but those who bless them will be blessed.

*I found that William Koenig’s book Eye to Eye, Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel, gave me the best history lesson I ever had and have included much of it in the historical information above.    It was detailed, but simple and easy to understand.  William Koenig is the president of “Koenig’s International News”.  He lives in Washington, D.C. and is a White House correspondent.

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