Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bill Kristol Writes About Israel at 60; So do the Prophets

Here is a link to Bill Kristol's New York Times column, entitled "The Jewish State at 60," which Dennis Prager highlighted on his show yesterday. Kristol doesn't live in a fantasy world and he doesn't minimize the current threats to Israel's very existence. However, he notes:

"Still, even though the security of Israel is very much at risk, the good news is that, unlike in the 1930s, the Jews are able to defend themselves, and the United States is willing to fight for freedom. Americans grasp that Israel’s very existence to some degree embodies the defeat and repudiation of the genocidal totalitarianism of the 20th century. They understand that its defense today is the front line of resistance to the jihadist terror, and the suicidal nihilism, that threaten to deform the 21st.

What Eric Hoffer wrote in 1968 seems even truer today: 'I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel, so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish, the holocaust will be upon us.'”

From 1939 to 1945, the Jews of Europe were abandoned to their fate, without any meaningful ability to defend themselves. Today, the Israeli Defense Forces are the most powerful military force in the region, and are supported heartily by the most powerful nation on earth. Notwithstanding the enlightened opinion makers at the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic Monthly and other like-minded advocates of somehow "undoing" the "mistake" of Israel's creation, I prefer it this way.

Please let no reader understand me. I do not believe that sheer military might would be sufficient to assure Israel's survival, were God to will otherwise. I trust in God over chariots, but for the most part God works through natural means, by assisting the chariot drivers who are doing his will.

God's hand has been evident to those who look for it throughout Israel's short national life. It was evident on November 29, 1947, when Stalin, a vicious anti-Semite who imprisoned and murdered Zionists in the Soviet Union, nonetheless instructed the representatives of the Soviet Union and its satellites to vote for the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab States. It was evident when the beleaguered new nation was able to fight off the invading armies of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan and Egypt in 1948-49. It was so openly revealed in the Six Day War of June 1967 that the whole world recognized it. It was evident at Entebbe on July 3-4, 1976. It was evident during the first Gulf War when Saddam Hussein launched 39 missiles at Israel's crowded urban areas, yet directly killed no one (although 3 elderly persons died of heart attacks from fright or shock). Just one SCUD missile, launched at the vast emptiness of Saudi Arabia, killed 28 American soldiers when it struck their barracks in Dharan. It was evident when the Soviet Union, once the most feared military power in the world, literally disappeared overnight, and hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews immigrated to Israel. All of these events occurred b'derech hateva [through natural occurrences], yet all manifested the divine protection of God again extending to the Jewish people after the horrors of the Holocaust.

Most importantly, it has been evident to all of us who choose to see that we have somehow merited in our lifetimes to witness the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecies of the ingathering of the exiles, the prosperity of the land of Israel, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

Consider these commentators on reborn Israel, who are even better than Bill Kristol:

"That then the Lord your God will turn your captivity, and will have compassion upon you, and will return and gather you from among all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are disperced to the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you and from there He will bring you. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it, and He will do good for you, and multiply you more than your fathers. ... And the Lord your God will make abundant in all the work of your hand, the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your cattle and the fruit of your land, for good; for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, as he rejoiced over your fathers." (Deuteronomy 30: 2-9)

"So says the Lord God: In the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the ruined places shall be built up. And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, whereas it was desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the Garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate cities are fortified and inhabited. Then the nations that are left around you shall know that I the Lord have built up the ruined places, and planted that which was desolate. I the Lord have spoken it and I will do it." (Ezekiel 36:33-36)

"So says the Lord of Hosts: There yet shall be old men and old women sitting in the broad places of Jerusalem, evey man with his cane in his hand due to old age. And the broad places of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its broad places." (Zechariah 8:4-5)


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