The following is a guest post by the Rev Dr Peter Mullen, Hon. Chaplain of The Freedom Association.
“Israel’s 70th birthday” is all over the news. I suppose then that Abraham was the nation’s original patriarch in the 1940s and 50s, Isaac came along in the 1960s – about the same time as The Beatles - and I could swear I saw Joseph in his coat of many colours by the bandstand here in Eastbourne only last Thursday. Well, really!
Moses was a legendary character from around 1250 BC, but we know that King David was an historical figure who made his capital in the old Jebusite city of Jerusalem in the 9th century BC. His son Solomon built the first temple there, and the reigns of those two monarchs are well-documented in the Old Testament books Kings and Chronicles. We know also that Jerusalem was captured by the Babylonians in 586 BC and the people were carried off into exile: “By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered thee, O Sion” (that is Jerusalem) – Psalm 137:1
But the biblical legends go far back into the second millennium BC when “Melchizedek, King of Salem (Jerusalem) brought forth bread and wine and he was the priest of El Elyon (The Most High God)” – Genesis 14:18
So the Israelis can claim an association with Jerusalem which goes back many centuries, therefore it’s not surprising that they should now declare the ancient city to be their capital once again - though of course this irritates the left wing press and especially the BBC no end.
The second and dominant part of the name Jerusalem connects with the word שלום (shalom), meaning peace, while the root of this word, שלם (shalem), denotes completeness, wholeness and soundness. In Greek, the first part of the name Jerusalem resembles the words ιερος (hieros), meaning sacred, and ιερευς (hiereus), meaning priest. Back to Melchizedek, the legendary priest-king whose name means King of Righteousness.
Why do all the world’s lefties hate Israel? And why has antisemitism – a despicable thing never entirely dormant – returned with renewed ferocity? It’s been around a long time. The prophet Isaiah described Israel as “despised and rejected” – Isaiah 53: 3. Isaiah also identified Israel as God’s Suffering Servant. Certainly the people suffered under the Babylonians and again at the hands of the cruel Antiochus Epiphanes. And many times since in pogroms and genocides.
That’s some of the history which The Guardian and the BBC speak not of. Never mind, let’s adhere to the brief history referred to in the media’s short term memory and go back to the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948. Since then, Israel has been forced to fight four defensive wars. The country is a tiny sliver of civilisation in a vast desert of barbarism. Its enemies – on all sides - declare every day their intention to obliterate the country.
But what about the Arabs, especially the poor “Palestinians”? Why does Israel deny them the living space they demand in the form of the so-called “two state solution”?
Well, Israel has tried that. In 1998 the Israeli leadership held talks, sponsored by Bill Clinton, with the “Palestinian” leader Yasser Arafat at Camp David and all sides appeared smiling on the lawn to agree on that two state solution. But then the treacherous Arafat returned to Ramallah and declared the second Intifada – a terrorist uprising - against Israel. By all accounts, when she heard the news, Hillary Clinton’s language was unrepeatable.
In 2018 Israel has a strong leader in Benjamin Netanyahu whose first name means “son of right” and whose surname means “YHVH God has given.”
Historically and in modern times, Israel has shown itself to be one of the most brilliantly successful nations the world has ever seen. Its achievements in philosophy and theology, in the arts, science and medicine are unsurpassed. It is the only genuine democracy in the Middle East.
Why then should all the lefties treat Israel as a pariah?
Let me try to explain: they hate Israel precisely because it is successful.
All views expressed in contributions by named authors are their own and may not reflect the views of The Freedom Association.