by Esther Korson
Yesterday I travelled to Tel Aviv with a friend, as she had to go to the Chilean Embassy. On the way there, I was remembering how things used to be, when all of the international embassies were still in Jerusalem—and not in Tel Aviv!
In every country in the world—yes, every single country—the international embassies are located in the capital chosen by that country, with consulates in other cities depending on the size of the country. Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people long before any of those international capitals even existed! Jerusalem has been the centre of the Jewish people’s national and spiritual life since David made it his capital and that was way back in 1003 BC. (1 Kings 2:11 “David reigned over Israel from Jerusalem for 33 years.”) Following our return from Babylon in 538 BC, Jerusalem again served as the capital for the Jewish people, and has remained in our hearts and in our dreams for all of the hundreds of years that followed. In all of that time, Jerusalem has never been the capital of any other sovereign nation. Never!
On the day of Israel’s independence in 1948, as you know, we were attacked by Arab armies from every direction bent on our destruction. We won the war by the grace of God, but we lost the walled city so beloved by us for three thousand years. It wasn’t until the Six Day War—when the Arab nations again tried to destroy us—that we regained control of Jerusalem. It was a joy unparalleled for us as a people, second only to our independence in ’48! Jerusalem at last was reunited under Israeli control.
In July of 1980, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed the “Basic Law – Jerusalem” which reinstated Israel’s rights and obligations concerning Jerusalem as the capital of our nation.
At that time, all of the embassies were based in Jerusalem. But when we declared it to be our eternal capital—almost all of the embassies moved—to Tel Aviv!
Every nation on earth, uncontested, named their own capital; their choice was respected, and in that capital the international embassies were placed! Except for us! (Even now the U.S. has refused to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and whenever I need to get my U.S. passport renewed, it says that it was issued in ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem’ as they refuse to print ‘Jerusalem, Israel’!)And when we choose to build houses in our own capital in our own country for our own people, the world has a conniption fit! No complaints against tyrants like Assad who murdered 150,000 of his own people. Nope! But yesterday after Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that we would be building new housing units in the city, an official in the Obama administration called our Prime Minister a ‘chicken-sh**’ leader and lots of other degrading and negative things were said. Even with the understanding that the real war that we’re in is a spiritual war—even understanding that—it gets more absurd all the time!
There was a Dry Bones cartoon depicting King Solomon talking with his adviser:
In his blog, Dry Bones creator Kirshner commented underneath the cartoon, “Yikes! According to Biblical Prophecy, in the latter days, all the nations will come against Israel because of Jerusalem…” In his cartoon the next day, called ‘Definitions”, one person says to another, “Islamaphobia is the irrational fear of Islamist terrorism.” “So what would the world call the rational fear of Islamist terrorism?” “Sanity!” But again it was also Kirshner’s comment that I loved. “Insanity: the world’s hysteria about the building of homes in Israel for Jews.”
Well, when the embassies of the world (or at least the limited nations that recognize us and have diplomatic relations with us) made their exit from Jerusalem, there were a few countries that were brave enough to stay—at least in the beginning. One of them was Costa Rico. My youngest son went to school with the ambassador’s son, and he told us how blessed Costa Rico was in many ways. “We don’t even need to have an army!” he exclaimed. When I represented Israel at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast way back in 1980 in Washington, D.C., I addressed a group of the international guests. I said to that gathering of dignitaries and politicians from 80 nations, “There is a promise given by God to the Jewish people in Genesis 12:3, that He would bless those that bless them and curse those that curse them. And, ladies and gentlemen, even the fate of nations can depend upon that word…”
There have been nations that have been true friends—the United States being our staunchest ally (even though the current administration is openly hostile). And a leader like Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a shining light in his support of Israel. To end this blog on a positive note, I’d like to tell you about a little nation that has truly stood by us stood for a very long time already. I hope it will encourage you!
Tei Concepcion produces two TV shows for the ABS/CBN Asia which has over 2 million subscribers worldwide. The network is the largest in the Philippines today, and the purpose of one of the programs, World without Walls, is to discuss different countries that have diplomatic relationships with the Philippines. “But here’s the big thing,” Tei said. “The purpose really of ‘World without Walls’ is to feature Israel. Israel is a special nation, a special country with its own story. There is a verse in the Bible which says, ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye My people.’ One little way of comforting Israel is letting the world know the many countless contributions of Israel to the world.” That’s the view of two Filipino filmmakers who are here to express that love and appreciation between Israel and the Philippines which dates back for decades.
CBN Network Asia Senior Feature Writer, Nina Benigno, had the following to say about the relationship between Israel and her native Philippines. “There are many networks around the world that have their own things to say about Israel that are not so accurate, so we want to balance it to be fair. We want the Filipino people to see this wonderful land and beautiful nation, this beautiful people, for who they are.”
The team is in Israel making a film about Jewish Holocaust survivors who received refuge in the Philippines. As she explained, “When all the countries closed their doors, a tiny nation in the Far East had the guts and boldness and courage to open its doors to the nation. The President then was President Quezon. His reason? Because it was the right thing to do. He cared and it was in the headlines of our newspapers that the President will receive up to 10,000 Jewish refugees. During World War II the President rallied against Hitler and the inhumanity of the Nazi regime. In 1947, the President made a stand once again as the only Asian nation who voted in the United Nations in support of the State of Israel.”
The long-standing diplomatic bond between the two nations has seen a helping hand extended both ways. “In 2013 after the devastating typhoon hit the Philippines, Israel immediately sent a flying hospital and full disaster relief teams. The very first to fly in to help us were the Jewish people.” Israel continues to help the Philippines in rebuilding what was destroyed. Israel has also educated the Philippines about the hydroponics system Israel developed to enable them to grow rice in the desert, among other things.
It seems that the two little countries, both the first democracies in their regions, have a deep and lasting connection. “Between the Philippines and Israel, the bond is here to stay.” (Israel Up Front)
It is truly a comfort to our little country. In these days especially!Share this page with your friends
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