Iran and Jerusalem

Iran and Jerusalem

The elite special forces unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, specifically tasked with operating outside Iran’s borders, is known as the Quds Force. This secretive organization is officially designated as a sponsor of terror by the United States, and they are known to have either directly carried out or to have authorized and funded terror attacks around the world. According to U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, the Quds Force was directly responsible for at least 20% of the casualties suffered by American forces in the Iraq war.

It is important to note that Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem. Each year on the final Friday of Ramadan, Iran observes Quds Day, calling on Muslims around the world to take the Holy City away from Jewish control. Iran has become an implacable enemy of Israel, and they are willing to go to any length to harm and destroy the Jewish people.

There is no secret about Iran’s designs for the city of Jerusalem. Recently a high-ranking official, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, said Jerusalem was the “unchangeable” capital of the Muslim world. Speaking in Tehran, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said the city would remain the Palestinian capital forever, according to a report from Iran’s Fars News Agency (the official government media company).

“Jerusalem is the unchangeable capital of the Muslim world and of Palestine,” Araghchi said, adding Iran will “confront any attempt to change this reality”. The comments came shortly before U.S. President Donald Trump moved the U.S. Embassy from the Israeli city of Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following through on a long-held pledge to recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

Though previous U.S. leaders, including former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, had spoken of doing the same during their tenures, Trump was the one who actually made the move. The decision has attracted strong criticism from Muslim states, including opponents of the U.S., such as Iran, but also its traditional allies, such as Turkey, but received great praise and gratitude from friends of Israel.

Araghchi was voicing sentiments widely expressed by Iranian leaders, most notably by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In a speech published on his personal website, Khamenei said all Muslims had a duty to oppose Israeli and U.S. attempts to wrestle Jerusalem from the Palestinians.

“We must by no means think that it is too late, even if decades have passed,” he said. The radical Muslims who hate Israel will never be satisfied with anything less than the total destruction of the Jewish state and the Jewish people.

Land of Promise, Land of Conflict

Land of Promise, Land of Conflict

Israel is a tiny country with a population of less than 8 million and a land mass comparable to the state of New Jersey, the fifth smallest state in the U.S. It is 290 miles in length and only 85 miles wide. Israel’s role on the world stage should seemingly be relatively minor, yet hardly a day goes by when events in or concerning Israel do not dominate international headlines. What many today seem to overlook is that Israel didn’t just rise from the rocky land of Palestine in 1948, it has been in existence for centuries, although known by various names.

The late columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote graphically of the land today: “Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store.”

At the end of World War II, with all its horrors of the Holocaust, the devastated Jewish survivors in Europe longed to travel to Palestine, their biblical homeland. Their dreams were to be delayed when Britain was placed in control of Palestine by mandate of the United Nations and with a growing dilemma: How to walk the tightrope between world opinion and the Arabs. After the shock and revulsion of the Holocaust, much of the world increasingly demanded that the Jews be allowed to emigrate to Palestine…thought to be a place of safety for them.

Arabs in the region were adamantly opposed to the move.  Greatly frustrated by the situation, the British announced in February 1947 that control of Palestine would be ceded to the United Nations, even then a hotbed of anti-Semitism.  In November 1947, the UN offered a plan for partition that would divide the region into an Arab state and a Jewish state, calling for British troops to leave Palestine by August 1948.

The Jews welcomed the proposal; the Arabs scorned it. Some British leaders felt it would be impossible for a Jewish state to flourish in the face of such hostility from the Arabs. In the interim, Jewish leaders moved forward with plans for statehood. A provisional government was established under David Ben-Gurion in March 1948. Two months later, on May 14, as Egyptian fighter-bombers roared overhead and British troops readied for departure, Ben-Gurion and his political partners gathered at the museum in Tel Aviv.  At 16:00 [4:00 PM], Ben-Gurion opened the ceremony by banging his gavel on the table, prompting a spontaneous rendition of Hatikvah, soon to be Israel’s national anthem, from the 250 guests.

The following day, Israel was attacked by the Arab nations that ring her borders. Only through the grace and protection of God was Israel able to survive.  Again and again over the years, this tiny island of freedom has suffered assaults directed by evil men dedicated to the annihilation of the Jewish people.

The Truth about BDS

The Truth about BDS

There is a concerted effort underway that is nothing less than a demonic plan that has been birthed in hell to destroy the nation of Israel…to literally bankrupt her and curse the nation. It is known as BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions). It is all about money. The plan is to turn worldwide public opinion against Israel, to isolate the Jewish nation and turn it into a pariah state, which no one will be willing to defend. It is a “Curse Israel” movement, and sadly, it is a fast growing and very popular movement.

The BDS campaign officially started on July 9, 2005, when nearly 200 Palestinian organizations met together and called for a worldwide economic boycott to attempt to force concessions from Israel. The main stated goals of BDS are to end the Israeli “occupation” of the Bible lands of Judea and Samaria and the so-called “right of return” for Palestinians into Israel.

The unstated goal is much darker. The Palestinians have repeatedly rejected the two-state solution. They do not want to live side by side with Israel in peace. They want the Jewish state to be destroyed. Some are more open about their aims than others, but the desired end result is the same. The popular chant among Palestinian supporters (sadly, often heard here in the United States) goes like this: “Palestine must be free, from the river to the sea.” Of course, the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is where Israel currently exists; those who join in this chant are calling for nothing less than the complete and total end of Israel.

The BDS campaign is founded on a lie. While there are good and well-meaning people who have been deceived by that lie, it is also being used as cover by those who hate the Jewish people. While anti-Semitism is rampant in much of the world, it is still regarded as unacceptable in some quarters. So the “collective Jew” of Israel replaces the individual Jew, and all of the hatred and contempt that must be concealed in polite company can be expressed under the cloak of BDS.

Many, many people here in the United States have accepted the propaganda that the Palestinians are an oppressed people, who are occupied by a foreign power. This false portrayal of events shapes the way news is reported, and it shapes the way people think. Often, people say they want a two-state solution, without remembering that in 1948, Israel offered a two-state solution, which was rejected by the Arabs and Palestinians who immediately launched a war to destroy Israel. They did not want peace then, and a great majority do not want peace now. We are fighting against the BDS movement and the lies they are promoting as part of our effort to defend God’s Chosen People.

Israel Is a Light

Israel Is a Light

In November of 2017, a massive earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck near the border between Iran and Iraq. The quake, the deadliest of the entire year, left more than 500 dead and more than 8,000 injured, along with significant damage to many towns and villages in the region. Over 12,000 residential buildings were reported to be either damaged or completely destroyed. Most of the deaths, injuries, and damage occurred on the Iranian side of the border.

There is a major fault line that runs through western Iran and northwestern Iraq where the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. Earthquakes in the region are not uncommon, but this one was one of the most severe in recent times. More than 150 aftershocks, the strongest measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, following the major earthquake were reported. According to Iranian authorities, at least 70,000 people were in need of emergency shelter because of the extensive damage.

Many nations responded with emergency aid, but one came as a surprise to most: Israel. Despite the public and blatant hostility of the government in Tehran toward the Jewish state, and despite the millions of dollars Iran has spent arming terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas, Israel reached out with help in the time of crisis.

Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the aid, saying, “I’ve said many times that we have no quarrel with the people of Iran. Our quarrel is only with the tyrannical regime that holds them hostage and threatens our destruction. I saw these heartbreaking images of men and women and children buried under the rubble. I’m proud to announce tonight that a few hours ago, I directed that we offer the Red Cross medical assistance for the Iraqi and Iranian victims of this disaster.”

Israeli doctors, search and rescue teams, and other aid workers are often sent around the world following natural disasters. In the past decade, at least 40 countries have benefited from such relief efforts. Among those was the United States following the massive flooding in Texas brought about by Hurricane Harvey. Israeli workers helped clear debris and helped survivors piece their lives back together.

The reality is that many of the nations of the world take every opportunity to both publicly and privately castigate the Jewish state, often blaming Israel for the unrest in the Middle East—not just with the Palestinians, but in other nations as well. Israel is a convenient scapegoat. Yet the Jewish state continues to respond with help in times of crisis.

Against All Odds

Against All Odds

When Israel issued its declaration of statehood in May of 1948, David Ben-Gurion assumed the joint offices of prime minister and defense minister. He demanded that the various armed factions that had been fighting to protect Jewish families and towns from Arab attacks be merged into one fighting force, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He masterminded the creation of many of the burgeoning state’s institutions and various internal projects to aid development. He organized, for example, Operation Magic Carpet to airlift Jews from unfriendly Arab countries, the founding of new towns and cities, and a national waterworks along with other infrastructure projects.

 

He continued to encourage pioneering and farming in the remote areas of the land. Ben-Gurion achieved Theodor Herzl’s dream, his passion for a Jewish state, and was then entrusted with its guardianship. The newly acknowledged State of Israel was all that Herzl had imagined. As Yoram Hazony, author, philosopher, and political theorist, wrote: “Ben-Gurion found himself overseer of a state that was neither neutral nor multinational as Judah Magnes, Martin Buber, Lessing Rosenwald or the ever-present U.S. State Department had hoped to see formed. It was, instead, in the most precise way conceivable the state about which Herzl had written in The Jewish State—a place where non-Jewish residents were welcomed ‘to participate in the up-building of the state on the basis of full and equal citizenship,’ but one whose significance, single-mindedness, and function would nevertheless result in ‘the right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate…in their own sovereign state.’”

 

When Ben-Gurion stepped to the podium at 4:00 p.m. on that warm Friday afternoon in May, he carefully read the statement that declared Israel’s sovereignty. The following day, May 15, Egypt launched her military aircraft toward Tel Aviv in retaliation. It was Shabbat, and there would be no official response until Saturday evening at the conclusion of the holy day. As the prime minister again delivered a news bulletin to his awaiting audience, he announced that an Egyptian warplane had been shot down, its pilot imprisoned, and the aircraft added to the Israeli Air Force. He also reported that the United States had been the first nation to recognize Israel’s independence.

 

Ben-Gurion’s announcement was the initial step in a war that would last one year, three months, and ten days. It would test Israel’s very resolve and preparedness. It was a war very few expected the newly reborn state to survive. Azzam Pasha, the Arab League secretary-general incorrectly asserted: “It will be a war of annihilation. It will be a momentous massacre in history that will be talked about like the massacres of the Mongols or the Crusades.” It was an opinion widely shared around the world. But it was an opinion that did not take into account the promises and prophetic plan of God.

 

At the outset of the confrontation, it was obvious that Israeli forces were greatly outnumbered. One army, alone, the Egyptians, boasted 40,000 ground troops armed with approximately 135 armored fighting vehicles, heavy artillery, and 60 planes in its arsenal, including bombers and single-seat fighter planes. Forces in Egypt and Jordan had been trained and led by British army officers. The Israelis were faced with those daunting figures, yet marched forward determined and unbowed.

 

The Land of Promise

The Land of Promise

“The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, ‘Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you’” (Genesis 13:14-17).

Israel is a tiny country with a population of less than 8 million and a land mass comparable to the state of New Jersey, the fifth smallest state in the U.S. It is 290 miles in length and only 85 miles wide. Israel’s role on the world stage should seemingly be relatively minor; yet, hardly a day goes by when events in or concerning Israel do not dominate international headlines. What many today seem to overlook is that Israel didn’t just rise from the rocky land of Palestine in 1948; it has been in existence for centuries, although known by various names.

Columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote graphically of the land today: “Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store.”

At the end of World War II with all its horrors of the Holocaust, the devastated Jewish survivors in Europe longed to travel to Palestine, their biblical homeland. Their dreams were to be delayed when Britain was placed in control of Palestine by mandate of the United Nations, and with a growing dilemma: How to walk the tightrope between world opinion and the Arabs. After the shock and revulsion of the Holocaust, much of the world increasingly demanded that the Jews be allowed to emigrate to Palestine, which was thought to be a place of safety for them.

Arabs in the region were adamantly opposed to the move. Greatly frustrated by the situation, the British announced in February 1947 that control of Palestine would be ceded to the United Nations, even then a hotbed of anti-Semitism. In November 1947, the UN offered a plan for partition that would divide the region into an Arab state and a Jewish state, calling for British troops to leave Palestine by August 1948.

The Jews welcomed the proposal; the Arabs scorned it. Some British leaders felt it would be impossible for a Jewish state to flourish in the face of such hostility from the Arabs. In the interim, Jewish leaders moved forward with plans for statehood. A provisional government was established under David Ben-Gurion in March 1948. Two months later on May 14, as Egyptian fighter-bombers roared overhead and British troops readied for departure, Ben-Gurion and his political partners gathered at the museum in Tel Aviv. At 16:00 [4:00 PM], Ben-Gurion opened the ceremony by banging his gavel on the table, prompting a spontaneous rendition of Hatikvah, soon to be Israel’s national anthem, from the 250 guests.

The following day, Israel was attacked by the Arab nations that ring her borders. Only through the grace and protection of God was Israel able to survive. Again and again over the years, this tiny island of freedom has suffered assaults directed by evil men dedicated to the annihilation of the Jewish people.