14 Jan 2019

Babylon Calling

In the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the Israelites were warned that invasion was coming. Sure enough, in 586 B.C., the Babylonians came from the east, sacked Jerusalem, and carried off thousands back to their kingdom. There, the Jewish exiles mourned for 70 years, before the Lord allowed them to return after a decree from a new empire, the Medo-Persians.

A reversal of sorts was announced this week, as word came that several Iraqi delegations had visited Israeli government officials! Wow, what an amazing turnaround of history, especially given the hostilities of the last century between the countries.

Of course, no one knows where this will end up, but I am reminded of David Allen Lewis’s remark on the peace between Egypt and Israel: “A cold peace is better than no peace.”

Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged this latest breakthrough and it is nothing short of amazing. Most of the readers of Israel Watch no that in the past few short years, various Arab countries are warming up to Israel, as evil forces threaten all of them.

From a report in Israel National News:

“Three delegations from Iraq visited Israel in recent months, the last of which arrived in Israel within the last month, Hadashot TV reported on Sunday.

“The delegations included a total of 15 influential people from Iraq, including local religious leaders, both Sunnis and Shiites.

“According to the Hadashot TV report, the delegation met with Israeli officials, visited the Yad Vashem Museum and met with academics and organizations related to Iraqi Jewry.”

I was not sure at all that Iraq would ever do such a thing, given the Saddam Hussein years and even prior. And remember, Iraq took part in the wars against Israel in ’48, ’67, and ’73, in one form or another. Saddam’s well-publicized threats to wipe Israel off the map were routine for decades.

“Last month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attended a conference of Israeli ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry, and told the diplomats, ‘When I meet with Arab leaders, they say to me, ‘We have security and economic interests, and we also want to enjoy the fruits of progress, and we will not mortgage our normalization with the State of Israel to the whims of the Palestinians.’”

This is astonishing, and proves that many are getting sick of the tired old Palestinian mendacity. It has brought much destruction not only to Israel, but also to neighboring Arabs. If for no other reason, they have finally grown tired of subsidizing the PLO-Hamas Hatfields’ and Mccoys’ feud.

Netanyahu has skillfully split-off the Palestinian demands from normalization with other Arab countries or, should I say, actual Arab countries.

There’s no question that there are many thousands of Arabs in the Middle East that simply want to get on with life and put an end to a century of fighting, murder, and destruction.

Now, should we expect Netanyahu to host Iraqi President Barham Salih anytime soon? Not so fast, but these delegations are a really big deal.

Things change so quickly geopolitically in the Middle East, but let’s enjoy this good news as we head into 2019.


7 Jan 2019

Party Time in Israel

Israel’s “Young Turks” have created a new political party, and this week received an important new ally.

Caroline Glick, a long-time writer for the Jerusalem Post (and, of late, Breitbart), is running for a Knesset seat for the new Hayemin Hehadash (The New Right) Party. The party was founded by rising stars Naftali Bennett, Education Minister, and Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s Justice Minister. For what it’s worth, they are the new breed; both look like they could carry lead roles in a James Bond movie.

The pair have left Bayit Yehudi, in order to gain more seats in the Knesset.

For her part, Glick is a media savvy Zionist firebrand.

“’Caroline is a relentless Zionist fighter,’ party co-chairman Naftali Bennett said. ‘With her, we are building today the dream team of the Israeli Right in order to expand the right-wing block – so that Israel can be triumphant again.’

“Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, the party’s other leader, called Glick a ‘a courageous fighter symbolizing the real, pure, conservative Right. She will be a great addition to the Knesset from our side.’”

I met Glick in Jerusalem in 2002 and like anyone else who loves Israel, was impressed by her knowledge and passion for the country. She is a native of Chicago who made aliyah in the 90s and is a talented English-speaking advocate for her country. She is also a fierce Zionist.

(By the way, some of the fiercest Zionists I’ve ever met are women.)

When we talked in the lobby of the Mt. Zion Hotel, overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City and the Hinnom Valley, we were discussing a book deal. Her subsequent writings represent clear thinking on how to proceed with the Palestinians. Her views are somewhat in the same vein as other, rare, transcendent politicians, like Donald Trump. They deal with reality, not political and philosophical theories.

Bennett, Shaked, and now Glick must prove to their constituents that they will not buckle under ideologically and not budge on security issues. As popular as Benjamin Netanyahu is (it’s astonishing that he will be 70 this year!), he doesn’t go far enough for many on the Right, who want to see Hamas dismantled permanently, among other things.

I don’t disagree with them.

Bibi will probably be prime minister as long as he wants to be—hopefully he will be the one to deal with the Iranian threat in a lasting way—but Bennett and Shaked in particular are probably his successors.

This is all good news in my view. It shows that, unlike America, not all politicians are compromisers. Israel’s future is secure because of God alone.

But it appears He might be willing to use a group of Young Turks going forward.