Israel is in the field of vision of practically every nation on earth, either in admiration or disdain, and they can’t resist… or take their eyes off her.
The resurrection of the State of Israel, the Hebrew language, and the return of the covenant people to their covenant land is the story of our time and the central divide in the world today. As I’ve written elsewhere, Israel’s death, resurrection & return to their ancient homeland can be considered an object lesson. For instance, it draws our attention back to the death, resurrection & ascension of Yeshua that preceded it. Like Yeshua before them, Israel has been a nation scorned and rejected.
It’s worth remembering that two goats were used in Israel’s religious ritual of atonement. One goat was killed, and the other was led alive into the wilderness. In Christian theology, the Jewish diaspora is like the scapegoat. The Jews were led alive into the wilderness of nations, and, theologically speaking, this had to follow their collective rejection and murder of Yeshua, their brother, and Messiah, just as their resurrection from the dead and return to their covenant land followed the resurrection of Yeshua and his return to his home in heaven.
Regarding the world’s fixation on Israel, in his book, “The Israel Test,” George Gilder wrote that history favors the view that poverty springs chiefly from envy, resentment, and the hatred of excellence. That fact is blatantly seen throughout history in class war, Marxism, the kleptocratic rape and pillage of many countries worldwide, and through anti-semitism. At the root is the commonly held belief that wealth inheres in things… in material objects or resources that can be seized and redistributed rather than locating wealth in human minds and creativity… in qualities that thrive in conditions where peace and freedom are honored and treasured, and individual achievement is rewarded.
I have seen this firsthand while living in Israel and traveling throughout the region where much of the misery among many Arabs, especially in disputed territories, stems chiefly from their crippling belief that Israel’s wealth is not only the source of their humiliation but also the cause of their poverty… it’s someone else’s fault. Many self-motivated and ambitious Arabs in Israel, the disputed territories, and neighboring Arab countries have fled to places where their talents can be rewarded. Many of those who remain have been duped and brainwashed, and their belief that Israel is to blame for their conditions may also be one of the biggest existential threats to the region.
Gilder’s book asks salient and penetrating questions. How do you respond to people superior to you in creativity, invention, success, and wealth? Do you envy them? Are you jealous… thinking their success somehow diminishes you? Or do you admire their achievements, inspired by them to reach higher yourself? Gilder calls this “The Israel Test.” The test of a culture or society is what it creates, not what it claims about itself. While the Jews have been busy creating the most stable and successful country in the Middle East, many of her neighbors are like most socialists and communists, they’re impotent… unable to reproduce life and growth, prefering rather to create chaos.
Many Arabs (Palestinians) have a long history of being unable to accept Jewish superiority where it plainly exists. In another post, I’ll give you my take on the why, the how, and the wow of Jewish superiority… their astonishing contribution to the world over and against their small population. Still, it’s not as simple as saying they’re God’s chosen people, although, to be sure, Israel is a distillery for the genius of the Jewish people.
Consider a simple and fair comparison: Jordan & Israel.
After the end of WWI, the victorious Allies dismembered the vast territory of the proud Turkish Ottoman Empire. At the San Remo conference in 1922, the French received the Mandate to establish Syria and Lebanon, and the British Mandate was given to establish Iraq and divide “Palestine” between Trans-Jordan and Israel. Jordanians are ethnically Arab, but 70% “self-identify” as “Palestinian,” a politically charged but illegitimate ethnicity. Through intrigue and deception, the British betrayed Israel, and Jordan ended up with 78% of the real estate, a betrayal that, in my opinion, led directly to the decline of the British Empire. In 1948, during the 1st Arab War, when Israel was at its weakest, Jordan captured Samaria and Judea (The West Bank) and, two years later, illegally annexed it as part of Jordan. It wasn’t until after the 1967 war, when Israel defeated the combined armies of Jordan, Egypt, and Syria, that land originally given to the Jews by the League of Nations in 1922 at the San Remo Conference and later by the UN was taken back. Of course, this is a controversial subject; tragically, hatred and envy share a very long memory.
In the beginning, Jordan and Israel had the same physical conditions. Both had access to the Jordan River to irrigate their fields; both countries had the same terrain and natural resources. So, let’s look at what both countries have done over the last 70 years with what they had.
Jordan’s agricultural output is 1/5 of Israel’s. Put another way, Israel’s agricultural output is five times that of Jordans. What does Jordan produce on their 35,000 square miles of terrain? Last year, Jordan’s Gross Domestic Production… with 1 million more people, was $40 Billion. And Israel? With less than 1/4 of the territory of Jordan… a little more than 8,000 square miles, to be more precise, slightly bigger than Kern County, California, or the state of New Jersey, Israel’s Gross Domestic Product is $350 Billion—almost ten times as much gross production from a fraction of the land.
Okay, so how do you account for that? Luck? Or is there something else going on?
Israel’s contribution to the world compared to her neighbors can be humiliating or inspiring, and people get to choose their response.
We believe the Hebrew scriptures are the “Oracles of God” and were initially revealed to the Jews at Sinai within the unconditional, unilateral covenant God made with Abraham. The larger Tanakh, an acronym for each of the Masoretic Text’s three traditional subdivisions: The Torah (Teachings… also known as the Pentateuch or first Five Books of Moses), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings), were revealed gradually over several millennia and contained the self-revelation of almighty God. This “self-revelation” is the greatest epic love story of all time, and within its pages are the detailed instructions for ways of living that would lead them to life, health, and prosperity, and ways of living that would lead to death, curses, and poverty.
God implored them to choose life.
Over nearly 4,000 years of intense and intimate dealings, God has carefully, patiently, and deliberately imprinted himself and his word upon Israel’s essence. Not only within Israel’s consciousness, but God has deeply penetrated their subconscious and DNA. Jews who say there is no God cannot escape his fingerprints on their lives. Israel is saturated in the Oracles of God. They’ve been taught the Tanakh, especially the Torah, since they wandered the desert. Whether in the land, captivity, or diaspora, a remnant of them has faithfully instructed their children for millennia in the ways of living that would lead them to life, health & prosperity.
Even in their current state of unbelief, Israel is a light to the nations, a glaring example, however flawed and imperfect, of what is released from a nation saturated and bathed in the ways of God.
According to John Milton in “Paradise Lost,” it was envy that offended Lucifer’s pride and provoked the war in heaven. A recipe that has been repeating itself ever since. With that story as a backdrop, to my mind, the conflict between Israel, her cousins, and the rest of the world boils down to this: Many, many people and nations around the world have had their pride offended by envy of the Jews, and, unfortunately, envy is not inert. It provokes, blinds, and distorts. Envy is a poison that carries tragic and long-lasting consequences that continue to be played out on the world stage today.