A Summer in Israel
This summer has been a very good learning experience. Not only was it a special time for intensive Hebrew study, it was also a time for gaining a deeper appreciation of the situation in the land and the views of the people who live in this difficult but most important place.
Speaking to people, now in Hebrew and English, reading Israeli newspapers (the Jerusalem Post for conservative views and Ha'Aretz for liberal views), watching Israeli Television news, and connecting with congregations in the Land have all been important experiences. One evening we spoke to a high ranking disabled veteran who served in Lebanon. We shared many common view points.
What is happening in the Land at the moment? Sometimes it is necessary to step back and take a bigger view than just the day-to-day concerns in order to see the larger picture, to get a sense of the global issues and to see the response that G-d is preparing among our very own people in the Land. Mixed with the depressing political situation that the Israeli government seems painfully slow to recognise and address in a consistent and logical way, is the astonishing growth in the number of believers - particularly among the youth. While the Israeli government fears the ticking demographic timebomb, we have the joy and burden of training, discipling and encouraging the new believers towards critical mass and the harvest that is to come.
The Collapse of the RoadMap
Some little while ago, you will recall the resignation of Abu Mazen, the Palestinian Prime Minister. I was watching CNN and amazed at the bias in the coverage. They gave much credibility to Palestinian spokesmen. The spin was that Israel was more responsible for this than Arafat - the reason given: targeted killings; Israel was said to have violated the Road Map. The Palestinians were to prevent these attacks according to the Road Map, but were doing nothing. Was Israel just to allow these folks to come in and blow up innocent civilians? The CNN reporters never asked which paragraph or sentence in the Road Map Israel had violated. The actual content of the Road Map remained hidden. The first and most basic section of the Road Map is an end to terror and that the Palestinian Authority is to disarm and arrest terrorists. Mazan explicitly said that he would not do this. Even the more liberal peace camp in Israel gives a very different view of matters. Israel violated no explicit provision of the Road Map. The Jewish people of this land live in constant frustration over their treatment in the foreign press.
The Great Failure of the Western Press
The greatest problem is the European Press, but the American Press is not without problems here. It is as if, to use Lenin's terms, the Western Press plays the role of "useful idiots" to further the cause of those who do not have any regard to real freedom and human rights. There is amazing duplicity in the use of language. Here are some examples of Orwellian language abuse.
A Nuclear Iran
Israel faces a nuclear Iran. This fact has been only recently disclosed by Iran's confession to the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the fears of the intelligence communities around the world being confirmed: Iran has been manufacturing weapons-grade Plutonium for years. One of Iran's highest Religious leaders said that they should drop the bomb on Israel. When asked about the millions of Palestinians that would also die, he stated that this would be a small price to pay for eliminating Israel, especially in the light of the tens of millions of other Arabs and many more millions of Muslims in the world. So much for the issue really being the oppression of the Palestinians. He is more than willing to wipe them out as well as the Jewish people.
Much of the West does not begin to comprehend the problem and hence does not really believe that it can be so bad. However, the threat from radical Islam, which grows like a weed, is worse than anyone of our political leaders will admit. Israel itself does not fully understand it, but understands better than much of the West. Recently we drove down Route 6 which follows the famous wall of separation. Israel will build the wall. What else can be done? Transfer of the Palestinian population seems impossible. Making peace seems impossible, especially after Barak's plan was rejected. It was quite amazing to simply see and ride along the length of the wall. Israel is not yet a people that have turned to God through the Gospel. Can we expect them to believe for gaining the whole land of Israel!
The Growing Number of Believers
Yet it is in this very season that we still witness the growth in the numbers of believers in the land, but the great challenges for training and discipleship that is entailed. This is our great burden in Tikkun. Over one hundred young people who believe in Yeshua serve in the Israeli Army. This is unprecedented. In addition we find, amazingly, that the Jewish disciples of Yeshua are more and more burdened to see the Arab population come to faith in Yeshua. Surely the only answer for lasting peace is Yeshua. How wonderful it would be to see a great harvest of both Israeli and Palestinian Arabs. Many are praying intensively for this. The conviction grows deeper all the time that the Gospel is the only answer. In this impossible situation, the Gospel shines more and more brightly. I believe we will see a great harvest of Jews and Arabs!