By Tom Brennan
How Israel faces the challenges of maintaining a Jewish worldview in a secular geopolitical environment.
To say that Israel is under constant pressure and threat from outside and inside its borders is an understatement. The average Israeli, Jewish, Arab Christian or Muslim never knows when a brutal terrorist act, a riot of rocks and Molotov cocktails, or sudden incoming missiles or rockets will cause death or injury. Adding to this the constant stream of hate propaganda from Hamas, Hezbollah and their allies in the media as well as nations turning against the last democracy in the region, any reasonable person will wonder at how anyone can stand up against all this.
In the western nations little of this occurs; days are predictable and many of us numb ourselves with mindless entertainment, professional sports and other distractions. In Israel, life is real and every day holds risk and reward. Right now the government is calling for elections and Israel’s 34 political parties will be campaigning. Issues such as how to act to prevent more terrorist attacks, the declaration of Israel as a Jewish State and homeland of the Jews, pressure from nations to recognize a Palestinian State and threats from Iran and a questionable relationship with the United States all add up to overload.
Yet it is the statement that Israel is a state whose foundations rest on a covenant between an Almighty G-d and a mortal human, Abraham, that makes the cement that forms the solid base of Israel’s existence. Israel’s ancient capitol is Jerusalem and this is where G-d has said He will return at the end of days. Yeshua ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives and will return in ”like manner”. Not far away is the Temple Mount. Perhaps this is the most sacred and contested place on earth. Solomon built the Temple his father was not allowed to build. That Temple was ruined and defiled by many enemies and eventually a despotic King Herod, enlarged and rebuilt the Temple into a wonder of the world. The expanse of the complex was enlarged by extending the landscape on a foundation series of walls built of ashlars, exquisitely carved stone blocks as large as compact cars and heavy as trucks. The pagan Romans destroyed that Temple and several non-Jewish structures stood and stand on its foundations. Yet the West Wall, a retaining wall of monumental ashlars reminds Jews and others that a Temple has stood there since the time of Solomon and that Israel’s foundation is built on solid rock and faith.
Israelis look on a world that seems to change its alliances daily. Jews have been betrayed by friends, conquered by enemies and almost exterminated by fiends. Yet like the Temple Mount they persist. Pious individuals pray at the wall, joyous that it survives like they do. Christians witnessing prayers at the wall termed it the “wailing wall”, not that the prayers were of mourning but there were sounds of joy that G-d had kept the people intact. When the IDF retook the Old City in 1967, General Moshe Dayan was one of the first at the wall. He followed an ancient tradition of writing a prayer and tucking it into a cranny in the huge ashlars, praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Dayan was a scholar, a soldier and a righteous man of prayer. Today the Jews try to keep peace by allowing the Muslims to keep their mosques at the top of the holy mountain but they are forbidden to pray at the place where the Mercy Seat once was kept. The victors are generous in their victory. Israel can look pragmatically at a potential flash-point and keep peace, even though they are fully entitled to decide who comes and goes on the Mount.
Israelis who are Jewish observe any variety of traditions. From secular or non religious Jews, to Ultra Orthodox who don’t even recognize the Nation in which they live, committing their loyalties to the coming Messianic Kingdom instead, Israel is a kaleidoscope of belief in a world that has gone pluralistic and forgotten the G-d Who made it.
How do you think like an Israeli? You rise in the morning and recite the foundation of your belief. “Shema Yisrael”.You go about your business and are prepared for change, sudden and sometimes tragic change. But your know that no matter what can happen that day, like the Temple Mount you stand on solid ground. “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you”. Like the solid ashlars we can learn from Israel to trust fully in G-d and stand our ground like the stones that have survived the centuries on the Temple Mount of Jerusalem. That’s how to think like an Israeli.Share this page with your friends
Follow News from Jerusalem