ISRAEL IN THE SPOTLIGHT
HELP DEFEND TRUTH & HELP DEFEND GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE
Why is the world so divided about Israel? Why are so many Christians reticent to engage on the subject? Why don’t more Churches & Pastors support Israel? Why is there so much in the media that seems to support Israels enemies? What are we to make of the antisemitic and often violent scenes unfolding in cities around the world over a tiny stretch of land in the middle of the world? You, your friends, family and colleagues may be asking these or other questions about the situation in Israel right now.
We have asked key questions and provided a succinct response in Israels defence. There are extra resources (at the bottom of the page) from our online store that cover the subjects in greater depth. You can also support Israel through the Israel Relief Fund.
Click the arrows to see the response to each question
1. WHY SHOULD WE STAND WITH ISRAEL?
Because God Takes Israel Personally.
For thus said the LORD of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye: “Behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And the LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.” Zechariah 2:8-12
Israel is the Apple of God’s Eye – whatever happens to Israel touches Him personally.
God promises to dwell within Israel and be their God.
God will inherit the land of Israel as His Own Possession.
God will choose Jerusalem to be the City of His dwelling.
2. IS ANTI- ZIONISM DIFFERENT TO ANTISEMITISM?
The two are inextricably linked.
Half of the world’s Jewish population now lives in Israel. The percentage is increasing by the year. Most Jews living outside of Israel also have family and friends in Israel. Therefore, a stance against Israel is a personal stance against the majority of Jews in the world.
The land of Israel was granted by the UN, following WW2, to provide a home and haven for the Jewish people following the horrors of the Holocaust.
The land of Israel is a mere 0.4% of the land in the Middle East with the rest dominated by Arab Islamic nations.
There are approximately 56 Islamic nations and just ONE Jewish State.
However, Anti-Zionists continue to stand against the existence of the State of Israel under these circumstances and conditions. And whether they are pursuing or protesting Israel, their dedicated intent is to eradicated Jews “from the river to the sea.”
No honest assessment can claim a genuine distinction between Antisemitism and Anti-zionism.
God also links the Nation of Israel (Zionism) with the People of Israel:
And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people.’” (Isaiah 51:16)
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst (Zechariah 2:10)
3. DOES ISRAEL NEED TO SHOW RESTRAINT?
Ironically, this seems to be a demand placed only upon Israel and not its evil barbaric attackers.
However, Israel is showing restraint by restraining evil and fighting for its own survival.
This is the role of Government – to punish evil and promote good for the benefit of society. This includes defending itself against acts of war and terror upon its people.
Romans 13:2-4 - Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.
In Matthew 5:38-39 - The command of Jesus to “turn the other cheek” is about resisting personal retaliation for insult and offence. It has nothing to do with the context of war, national defence and punishment of evil.
4. DOES ISRAEL NEED TO SHOW PROPORTIONALITY?
If Israel did, they would have to perpetrate, proportionately, the same kind of horrific, demonic, slaughter of defenceless children, families, pregnant women and the elderly.
Israel, however, has never and will not act in this way. Israel is not targeting innocent civilians but is responding by surgically striking Hamas targets in Gaza. Civilians have been causalities. But this is the responsibility of Hamas alone - for they hide behind human shields by setting up military sites in vulnerable community areas, willing to sacrifice their own people for their cause.
The call for “proportionality” also does not take into account the persisting attacks of Hamas and Hezbollah. Backed, by Iran, their agenda is to wipe Israel off the map. This is not a minor scuffle. This is another serious attempt to annihilate Israel.
If Israel does not act decisively to overcome these evil regimes, they will not back off but regather, reload and re-strategise for the next phase of their Anti-Semitic & Anti-Israel pursuit.
5. IS ISRAEL FIGHTING FAIR?
Those who seek to unjustly attack and destroy Israel are not acting according to fairness.
We must understand that Israel’s enemies fight with different motivations, means and methods. Despite not being as technically and militarily advanced as Israel, they are still extremely difficult to fight as they will do anything, beyond the laws of war and human decency, to win. As the saying goes – you can’t negotiate with terrorists.
Sure, Israel has great military might, developed over the decades with their own capabilities. This has been essential for their survival – to deter attack and defend against attack. To not use this might effectively, against persistent enemies seeking their destruction, is self-defeating.
The equation is simple - If Israel ceases to fight, Israel will cease to exist.
6. WHY DO SOME SAY THAT THE HAMAS ATTACK “DIDN’T HAPPEN IN A VACUUM”?
This is just another claim to distort the truth and excuse the brutal terrorist attack on Israel and its innocent civilians. Worse, it implies a justification of the Hamas horror by apportioning blame to Israel. Unsurprisingly, this claim of Israel’s blame has become a common talking point among the left-wing media, politicians and activists who are plainly Anti-Israel. Their ideology cannot allow them to display any unconditional or even genuine sympathetic support for Israel, no matter the atrocity inflicted. Dangerously, these are the same kinds of groups and individuals who question and deny the extent of the Holocaust, which was driven by a similar hatred of Jews. It’s easy to be deceived and confused by clever sounding statements of political propaganda blaming Israel.
But the truth is:
1. Israel handed over Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005 and has no presence or governing influence.
2. Hamas is Gaza’s elected government.
3. The oppression and suffering claimed by Palestinians is due solely to the corruption and oppression inflicted by the government they elected.
4. Israel is not responsible.
5. However, because of the inherent and historic hostility of Palestinian Arabs toward Israel and Jews, they are blinded by blame, deceived by hatred and driven by victimhood.
6. Further, from childhood, Palestinians are indoctrinated with lies and hatred toward Israel. It is an ingrained cultural belief that Israel is to blame for all their suffering.
Nothing that Israel has done can justify the horrific act of terrorism inflicted upon them. Full stop. It warrants and demands Israel’s full military response to ensure such evil is never allowed to happen again.
7. WHY DOESN’T ISRAEL JUST AGREE TO A “TWO STATE SOLUTION”?
Ironically, Israel has never rejected a two-state solution to co-exist with the Arab Palestinians.
Over the decades, at least 4 peace and land deals have been sought with the assistance of world leaders. Each time, Israel has agreed to give up land and cooperate to coexist. But it has been the Palestinians who have rejected the opportunities, each time. Why? Simply because they don’t want to coexist.
Understand this. The Hamas Covenant (which outlines the founding constitution & objectives of Hamas) proclaims that Israel will exist until Islam obliterates it, and jihad against Jews is required until Judgement Day. Compromise over the land is forbidden. The documents promote holy war as divinely ordained, reject political solutions, and call for instilling these views in children.
The updated 2017 charter attempts to camouflage Hamas’ Jew-hatred by stating they are “not anti-Jewish but anti-Zionist”, but it still retains the goal of eliminating Israel.
“From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” is a common call-to-arms for pro-Palestinian activists. It calls for the establishment of a State of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, erasing the State of Israel and its people. It is also a rallying cry for terrorist groups and their sympathisers.
You can’t have peace when the other party’s sole mission is just to destroy you!
8. IS ISRAEL AN “OCCUPYING” & “APARTHEID” STATE?
This Anti-Israel position, within the Christian church and among prominent leaders, is rapidly on the rise.
Paul Wilkinson sums up the issue well…
"Christian Palestinianism is an inverted mirror image of Christian Zionism. All the basic elements of Christian Zionist eschatology are reversed, so that the Bible is seen to be Christian, not Jewish, the land of the Bible is Palestine not Israel, the Son of God is a Palestinian not a Jew, the holocaust is resented not remembered, 1948 is a catastrophe not a miracle, the Jewish people are illegal occupiers not rightful owners, and biblical prophecy is a moral manifesto and not a sign post to the second coming. Despite enlisting support from the theological community and seeking validation through academia, the overriding thrust of Christian Palestinianism is political, not biblical."
(Paul Richard Wilkinson, For Zion Sake: Christian Zionism and the Role of John Nelson Darby, Studies in Evangelical History and Thought (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2007), 65)
10.BUT PALESTINIANS ARE NOT HAMAS?
Not all Palestinians are Hamas. But Hamas are Palestinians.
However, we must remember that the Palestinian people of Gaza elected Hamas to govern them and the majority actively support and celebrate the Islamic terroristic mission of Hamas to destroy Israel.
Even with the Palestinian protestors we see on our streets and across the globe – they may not belong to Hamas - but they are supporting the mission of Hamas and excusing the inexcusable actions of Hamas.
It’s not only within Israel, but Jews across the globe are the target of hatred from those supporting the Palestinian cause.
11. SHOULD PALESTINE BE RESTORED?
There has never been a State of Palestine to restore! But historically, legally and Biblically - the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.
In the 2nd century, after the conquest of Israel, the Roman Ruler Hadrian, renamed land of Israel “SYRIA PALAESTINA” – named after Israel’s ancient enemy the “Philistines” (remember Goliath!) - to mock Israel & eradicate its presence & history in the land. The name “Palestine” was subsequently born.
The Fact is, Palestine has NEVER been a Nation and there has never been a “distinct ethnic” Palestinian people. Those identifying as Palestinians are of Arab descent originating from neighbouring Arab nations such as Jordon, Syria, Egypt and Turkey.
After WW1-2, Israel was granted by the UN a portion of land in the area of Palestine (which again was not a nation but just a territory of land that had been under the control of various empires over the centuries). This portion of land was given to re-establish a “Jewish State” to justly give a home & haven to Jews after the horrors of WW2. Ironically, Jordon was given the largest portion of Palestine.
The plain truth is - Israel has never attacked, invaded or occupied the “territory of Palestine”. History even reveals that a significant population of Jews had continued to reside in the land.
A PALESTINIAN STATE?
1. Before Israel, there was a British mandate, not a Palestinian state.
2. Before the British Mandate, there was the Ottoman Empire, not a Palestinian state.
3. Before the Ottoman Empire, there was the Islamic state of the Mamluks of Egypt, not a Palestinian state.
4. Before the Islamic state of the Mamluks of Egypt, there was the Ayubid Arab-Kurdish Empire, not a Palestinian state.
5. Before the Ayubid Empire, there was the Frankish and Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem, not a Palestinian state.
6. Before the Kingdom of Jerusalem, there was the Umayyad and Fatimid empires, not a Palestinian state.
7. Before the Umayyad and Fatimid empires, there was the Byzantine empire, not a Palestinian state.
8. Before the Byzantine Empire, there were the Sassanids, not a Palestinian state.
9. Before the Sassanid Empire, there was the Byzantine Empire, not a Palestinian state.
10. Before the Byzantine Empire, there was the Roman Empire, not a Palestinian state.
11. Before the Roman Empire, there was the Hasmonean state, not a Palestinian state.
12. Before the Hasmonean state, there was the Seleucid, not a Palestinian state.
13. Before the Seleucid empire, there was the empire of Alexander the Great, not a Palestinian state.
14. Before the empire of Alexander the Great, there was the Persian empire, not a Palestinian state.
15. Before the Persian Empire, there was the Babylonian Empire, not a Palestinian state.
16. Before the Babylonian Empire, there were the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, not a Palestinian state.
17. Before the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, there was the Kingdom of Israel, not a Palestinian state.
18. Before the kingdom of Israel, there was the theocracy of the twelve tribes of Israel, not a Palestinian state.
19. Before the theocracy of the twelve tribes of Israel, there was an agglomeration of independent Canaanite city-kingdoms, not a Palestinian state.
In this piece of land there has been everything, EXCEPT A PALESTINIAN STATE.
12. WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE ARAB ISRAEL CONFLICT?
The ever-present conflict between Israel and the Arab world is not of recent origin. It began 4000 years ago!
In Genesis 12 we read that God promised Abraham He would make of Abraham a great name, a nation, in a great land, with innumerable descendants, including the lineage of Messiah. All this would not only bless Abraham but the whole world.
However, in disobedience and distrust of God, Abraham and Sarah chose to pursue the promise of God through Abraham fathering a child with Hagar, Sarah’s Handmaid. This child was called Ishmael.
Despite Ishmael being birthed in disobedience, God promised that He would give him a future and make of him a nation. However, Genesis 16:12 prophesies the tragic and hostile future of Ishmael and his descendants - “He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
Ishmael and his lineage would be characterised by aggressive resistance and conflict with everyone, especially against his kinsmen.
In due course, God fulfilled His promise to Abraham & Sarah by miraculously enabling them, in their old age, to give birth to a son, Isaac, the true child of God’s covenantal promise.
This is where it all started… ISAAC, the child of promise, through whom Israel would be born, in conflict with ISHMAEL, his half-brother and father of the Arab people. Isaac the line of promise – Ishmael the line of enmity.
That’s why the conflict has raged for centuries and why it will never be resolved politically but only through the coming rule of Jesus Christ on earth.
13. WHY ARE CHURCHES EITHER SILENT, SITTING ON THE FENCE OR TAKING AN UNBIBLICAL STANCE AGAINST ISRAEL?
1. IGNORANCE of Biblical Israel
Many Christians don’t understand and aren’t taught about the importance of Israel to God. However, the Scriptures are numerous and clear:
Deuteronomy 7:6-8 - “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you.”
Jeremiah 31:35-36 - Thus says the LORD; Who gives the sun for a light by day; The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night - “If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the LORD, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.
Sadly, because of theological shifts in biblical education and pulpit choices to satisfy middle ground doctrinal perspectives, it’s led to many believers being ignorant of God’s heart and plan for Israel - past, present and future. However, as the Apostle Paul revealed in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – we do not need to be uninformed. For God has revealed His will and prophetic plan for Israel, the Church and the world. We just need to be willing to read it, teach it and learn from it - thoroughly not selectively.
2. ARROGANCE against Present Israel
Not only does ignorance play a part in the confusion and compromise regarding Israel, but so does arrogance. Somehow, many in the church today think that Israel no longer matters, is irrelevant and it’s all now about us, as the church.
But Romans 11 warns against such arrogance:
Romans 11:18-20 - Don’t be arrogant toward Israel in their current rejection of Jesus as Messiah, for its only by God’s grace we have been given the light of the gospel - do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.
Romans 11:25-29 – Don’t be wise in our own sight and be unaware of what God is doing with and through Israel in this present season – for a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way, all Israel will be saved…. As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Romans 11:1 – God has not finished with Israel.
3. APATHY toward Israel’s Future
Because of ignorance and arrogance, fewer believers today have any conviction or passion about Israel’s future in God’s prophetic plan. However, Israel’s rebirth in 1948 was nothing short of a miracle and is the modern “super sign” of biblical prophecy.
Isaiah 66:8 - Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? YES! Israel on May 14, 1948!
Amos 9:15 - I will plant them in their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,” says the LORD.
The fact is, the fulfilment of all end times prophecies requires Israel to be back in her land. The events of the Tribulation, Christ’s Return and Millennial Kingdom are Israel centric (Isaiah 2:2-6).
Instead of apathy, the Hope of Israel should excite our hearts!
14. WHY FOCUS SO MUCH ON ISRAEL AND THE END TIMES? WHY NOT JUST FOCUS ON THE GOSPEL AND THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION FOR BELIEVERS NOW?
WITHOUT ISRAEL …
1. We would NOT have the Gospel - for salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22).
2. We would NOT have the Saviour, Jesus Christ - who is the descendant of Israel’s Patriarchs (Roman 9:5).
3. We would NOT have the revelation of God’s Word and will for our lives (Romans 9:4).
4. We would NOT have a tree of spiritual blessing to be “grafted into.” (Romans 11:17-18).
5. We would NOT have the Foundation of the Church - built by the Apostles & Prophets (Ephesians 2:2)
6. We would NOT have the Second Coming of Jesus - He returns in response to the calling of Israel on His Name to save them at the climax of the Tribulation (Matt 23:39, Zech 12:10, Hos 5:15).
7. We would NOT have a future Kingdom to inherit - Christ will reign as the King of Israel from David’s Throne in Jerusalem and Israel will be the central nation of His Kingdom (2 Sam 7:12-17, Is 2:2-5, Zech 8:22-23, Jer 3:17).
8. We would NOT have any assurance of the Gospel and our Salvation - If God can reject Israel and revoke His unconditionally promises, then He can also reject us and revoke our promises of salvation and eternal life (Romans 11:1-2, 28-89).
As you can see, the Gospel, along with our assurance of salvation and the hope of our future promises are all tied to Israel. That’s why Israel matters.
And that’s why teaching about Israel & eschatology is not secondary or unnecessary but essential to the Gospel and our growth.
15. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL?
Israel will be PURSUED by its enemies
In the end times, Israel will be an increasing obsession of the world & face escalating threats from its enemies - Matthew 24:9 - Jesus said you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
Israel will be PROTECTED by God
Psalm 121:4 - He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
Zech 2:8 - The Lord Almighty says: “whoever touches you (Israel) touches the apple of his eye.
Israel will be PRESERVED by God
We can see in biblical history & our own history how God has preserved Israel against all odds (WW2, 1948 Arab Wars, 1967 Six Day War, 1973 Yom Kippur War) and still today against attacks from her multiple enemies.
That’s because of these biblical promises:
Amos 9:15 - I will plant them in their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,” says the LORD.
Jeremiah 31:35-36 - Thus says the LORD; Who gives the sun for a light by day; The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night - “If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the LORD, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.”
Whenever you look up and see the sun, moon and stars shining – you will KNOW Israel STILL exists!
16. WHY IS ISRAEL CONSIDERED A MIRACLE?
The Rebirth of Israel as a Nation on May 14, 1948, is nothing less than a Divine Miracle.
That’s why it’s also recognised as the SUPER-SIGN OF PROPHECY - All the biblical prophecies relating to the End Times, Coming of Christ & Kingdom can’t be fulfilled without Israel being a Nation and back in its land.
Ultimately that’s why the focus on Israel is not just a political issue but a SPIRITUAL one. Satan knows the significance of Israel as God’s covenant nation – he knows the centrality of Israel in God’s plans for Messiah’s coming Kingdom from where He will reign on David’s throne in Jerusalem. Revelation 12 tells us that Satan is aware his time is short and is full of wrath & rage against Israel. From Satan’s perspective – if there is NO Israel there will be NO return of Christ & Kingdom.
Between AD70 - 1948 it seemed as if this would be the case - no more Israel!
After AD70’s destruction & dispersion of Israel among the nations (in God’s judgment for their unbelief - Duet 28:64-65) - for nearly 2000 years there seemed no earthly hope for her rebirth.
Despite the earthly impossibility of Israel’s rebirth, Biblical prophecy revealed that Israel would one day be regathered & reconstituted as a Nation (Ezekiel 37 - Valley of Dry Bones relates to this restoration.)
Isaiah 66:8 - Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? YES – Israel on May 14, 1948!
3000 years ago, Jerusalem was built as the capital of Israel. It has been attacked 52 times, besieged 23 times, ransacked 39 times, destroyed and rebuilt 3 times and captured and recaptured 44 times. 3000 years on, it remains the capital of Israel.
The Jews are the ONLY nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. Charles Krauthammer
The Miracle is not only seen in Israel’s rebirth but REGATHERING…
Ezekiel 36:2 - I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.
Jeremiah 30:3 – Days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of My people, Israel and Judah, declares the Lord, and I will bring them back in to the land that I gave to their Fathers, and they shall take possession of it.
The prophetic fulfilment of this return in our times is staggering…
In 1948 only 6% of the world’s Jewish population lived in Israel.
Now half the population of Jews on earth live in Israel – Approx. 7 million.
Soon, the majority of Jews in the world will reside in Israel.
Israel with a population of 9 million is now recognised as the 9th most powerful nation on earth.
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LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SUBJECT
Hamas Covenant - Question: The 2 State Solution - https://embassies.gov.il/holysee/AboutIsrael/the-middle-east/Pages/The%20Hamas-Covenant.aspx
Israel Statistics for Question: Is Israel and occupying state - https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/latest-population-statistics-for-israel
“SYRIA PALAESTINA” - Question: Should Palestine be restored? https://www.worldhistory.org/palestine/
History of Palestine - Source: Shai Giat; Cybersecurity Expert | Incident Response | CISO | Crisis Management | Strategic Planning | Tel Aviv District, Israel
Christian Palestinianism - Paul Richard Wilkinson, For Zion's Sake: Christian Zonism, Studies in Evangelical History and Thought (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2007),