- To watch any or all the messages from the 2011 Epicenter Conference, please click here
- To watch video blog updates from The Joshua Fund tour in Israel, please click here
- To read Joel’s blog in Hebrew, please go to www.joelrosenberg.co.il
(Jerusalem, Israel) — Will it work?
That’s the key question as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu finishes his high-profile trip to Washington, meeting with President Obama, addressing 10,000-plus pro-Israel activists at the AIPAC Policy Conference, addressing a Joint Session of Congress, and doing a flurry of major media interviews. Will his passionate case that Israel is America’s best friend, the only solid and secure democracy in the Middle East, endangered by Iranian nukes, and in need of unwavering American friendship and support in tumultuous times fully convince the President, the Congress and the American people to stand with Israel through the darkest of times that are steadily approaching?
I would like to believe this will be the case, but Bible prophecy says otherwise.
The Hebrew Prophets such as Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Joel tell us again and again that Israel will be all alone in the last days of history. All the nations will eventually turn against her. All the nations will work to divide the Land of Israel. Jerusalem, too, will be divided. The New Testament reconfirms this. Indeed, the Scriptures indicate that the only hope for Israel is for her to turn fully and completely to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As the “time of Jacob’s troubles” approaches — as the Day of the Lord approaches — the Bible tells us that the nations will betray the Jewish people. Only the Lord will be faithful. The question is, when the dark times come will Israelis turn their hearts to the Lord?
The Hebrew Prophet Joel warned us that the Lord is going to judge “all the nations” because “they have divided up My Land.” (Joel 3:2) Yet Joel doesn’t call Israel to political activism, to international diplomacy, to military adventurism, or any other human endeavor. The Lord says through the Prophet Joel, “‘Yet even now, return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments’…Now, return to the Lord your God for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.” (Joel 2:12-13) And if Israel does this, Joel tells us: “Then the Lord will be zealous for His land and will have pity on His people.” (Joel 2:18, 27)
The Prime Minister’s speech to Congress was excellent in many ways. He rightly described the “epic battle” underway in the epicenter. He described a great shaking going on in the Middle East. He rightly warned that Iran and her nuclear program is the greatest threat, that Hamas is the new al Qaeda, and that in all of the Arab world, only Israeli Arabs have true safety, security, and fully protected human and civil rights. I’ve included some important excerpts from the speech below. However, it should be noted that Netanyahu never cited the Bible, never called on the name of the Lord, and never called the Jewish people to trust fully and completely in the God of Israel, but rather promised to divide the land of Israel as a concession to the Palestinians, even while promising never to divide Jerusalem. These were mistakes. He wasn’t the first Israeli Prime Minister to make them. But he is making them nonetheless. He was right to thank the U.S. for all our help and support of Israel over the years, and he was right to seek continued help and support from the American people and government. But neither he nor Israel should become dependent upon American help because the Bible tells us it won’t be there for long.
The Bible is clear: only the Lord will save Israel. It is time for Israelis to consider this very carefully. For time is short. “The Day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near.” (Joel 2:1)
Excerpts of PM’s speech to Congress:
- “An epic battle is now unfolding in the Middle East, between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The tremors have shattered states and toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting….”
- “These extraordinary scenes in Tunis and Cairo, evoke those of Berlin and Prague in 1989. Yet as we share their hopes, but we also must also remember that those hopes could be snuffed out as they were in Tehran in 1979. You remember what happened then. The brief democratic spring in Iran was cut short by a ferocious and unforgiving tyranny. This same tyranny smothered Lebanon’s democratic Cedar Revolution, and inflicted on that long-suffering country, the medieval rule of Hezbollah. So today, the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads…”
- “Courageous Arab protesters, are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We’re proud that over one million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they’re all citizens of Israel! This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East….”
- “When I last stood here, I spoke of the dire consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Now time is running out, and the hinge of history may soon turn. For the greatest danger facing humanity could soon be upon us: A militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons. Militant Islam threatens the world. It threatens Islam. I have no doubt that it will ultimately be defeated. It will eventually succumb to the forces of freedom and progress. But like other fanaticisms that were doomed to fail, militant Islam could exact a horrific price from all of us before its inevitable demise. A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world. I want you to understand what this means. They could put the bomb anywhere. They could put it on a missile. It could be on a container ship in a port, or in a suitcase on a subway….”
- “Now the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads in the sand. Less than seven decades after six million Jews were murdered, Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state….”
- “The Ayatollah regime briefly suspended its nuclear program only once, in 2003, when it feared the possibility of military action. That same year, Muammar Qadaffi gave up his nuclear weapons program, and for the same reason. The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation. This is why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message: That America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons. As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself….”
- “Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state. I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace. This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the Jewish homeland. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo. This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace. No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old bond, between the Jewish people and the Jewish land….”
- “So now here is the question. You have to ask it. If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us? Because all six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Myself included. So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it. You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes. The Palestinians said no. In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War. They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees….”
- “My friends, this must come to an end. President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said: ‘I will accept a Palestinian state.’ It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say: ‘I will accept a Jewish state.’….”
- “As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city. Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found….”
- “Hamas is not a partner for peace. Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction and to terrorism. They have a charter. That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, but says ‘kill the Jews wherever you find them’. Hamas’ leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior. Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda. So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas! Sit down and negotiate! Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this. Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so….”
HEADLINES TO TRACK:
- Full text of PM Netanyahu’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress
- Full text of PM Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC
- Transcript of remarks by President Obama and PM Netanyahu after meeting at the White House
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