Friday, July 10, 2009

Who Says Israel Belongs to the Jews?

Many Christians certainly do not believe it is their business to try to advise the government of Israel what to do. However, most do believe it is within their realm of responsibility to draw attention to what the Holy Scriptures, the Torah and the Tenach, have to say about matters that are important to the nation and people of Israel today.

In this regard, I want to draw attention to the special Covenant, which the God of Israel made with Abraham, the father of the Israeli nation and people, some 4,000 years ago. And God called it "an everlasting covenant," which means that it must still be in effect today.

In the Torah book of Genesis, chapter 17 and verses 7 and 8, God Himself spoke to Abraham and told him: "I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God."

The devastating Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict today is primarily about land, this very same land of Canaan that God mentioned in His covenant with Abraham. And this conflict cannot be fully understood, much less resolved, without a clear understanding of this ancient, but everlasting covenant between God and Abraham's seed.

Former Member of the Knesset and former Tourism Minister Benny Elon has published a book that strongly stresses this important truth. It's relevant title is, "God's Covenant with Israel." He emphasizes that the Biblical land boundaries that God specified in His covenant with Abraham are the best solution to the Israeli-Arab land dispute today.

Elon relates that he resides today in the modern, flourishing city of Beth El, one of several modern cities in Judea and Samaria that were also ancient cities of Israel. These cities magnify the rightful ownership of Israel's historic heartland by the Jewish people of today. He believes it is his God-given right as a Jew to live in Beth El, even though many consider it to be located in Arab territory.

The former MK also finds it hard to believe that many of today's Israeli leaders do not consider God's ancient, everlasting covenant to be significant today. "Unfortunately," he writes, "many Jews in Israel do not study the Bible and have only a vague idea about their connection to the land, let alone the covenants." He adds, "I want to remind the citizens and leaders of Israel of our God-given right and responsibility to this land."

Elon proceeds to conclude that the creation of a Palestinian Arab state on the land of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza is not God's plan, since it violates God's covenant with the children of Israel. He also stresses that violation of this covenant will put at risk the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

With all this in his mind and heart, Elon goes on to the next step in his reasoning process. Since all the ancient land of Canaan, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, belongs to the Jewish people, the Palestinian Arab people and the Palestinian state belong on the other side of the Jordan. He calls this plan, "The Right Road to Peace."

All other peace plans have failed, Elon writes, because they have ignored God's Covenant. Any plan based on the division of the land is doomed to failure, he stressed. The miraculous return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland and the re-birth of their ancient nation, is the most significant event in the modern history of the Middle East, he adds. And it serves to confirm that God's everlasting covenant with the Jewish people has not expired.

Elon acknowledges that establishing the Palestinian Arab state on the other side of the Jordan would not be easy. However, he considers that the present state of Jordan is in reality a Palestinian state already. At the end of World War I, the League of Nations gave Britain a mandate over Palestine, which included the lands of both sides of the Jordan, to build there "a National Home for the Jewish People." But in 1922 Britain gave the eastern two-thirds to the Hashemite Arabs, who established a Palestinian Arab state on that land long before the Jewish state was re-established.

The influx of Arabs moving from Israel to Jordan would have to blend with the present Jordanian population and live under their government. It is recorded history that the government of Jordan expelled the Palestine Liberation Organization under Yasser Arafat some 25 years ago, and even now they do not allow the so-called Palestinian Arabs to live in Jordan or become citizens even though most of the Israeli Arabs are from the same Arab stock as most of the Jordanian Arabs. However, Elon feels that strong pressure from the United States and the international community could help open the Jordanian gates.

Elon also proposes that Israel, the United States, and the international community will also have "to put forth a concerted aid effort for the long-term development of Jordan, to rehabilitate its economy, and to enable them to absorb the influx of additional Arab citizens within their borders."

He says it will take something like the post-World War II American Marshall Plan to make the Jordanian consolidation plan work. It will take an enormous amount of financial, technological, and educational aid to create a viable enlarged Palestinian state. But he adds that the international community should be willing to do it to bring about this long sought solution and peace. He also thinks that a program of such extensive aid "would most likely be welcomed in Amman."

Such a plan also would include the dissolution of the present Palestinian Authority, whom Elon primarily blames for the present scope of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Dissolving the Palestinian Authority would uproot the terrorism infrastructure, he says, and put an end to the present incitement and violence.

However, Elon does not mention that this plan would put an end to the Arab hatred and animosity toward the Jewish people. And even though he outlines this plan as the best one yet designed, he does not go so far as to express confidence that it will someday be enacted.

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