Israel & Christians Today: Weekly Update (May 11)

editor - 11 May 2019
Remembering those who died to give birth to a state

Last Tuesday was Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s ‘Memorial Day’) commemorating the Jewish soldiers who died in the 1947-1949 War of Independence that led to the establishment of the State of Israel, and those Israeli soldiers who have died on active duty since then, as well as victims of terror. This was followed by Yom Ha’atzmaut (“Day of Independence”) commemorating the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

In Israel, life and death go hand in hand.

Many challenge the legitimacy of the state of Israel. They claim it is based on a lie, on an injustice.

When the names of those who died are read out, this is a reminder to the world that the state of Israel is a living reality based on true justice. The modern Jewish state of Israel was built, in a real sense, by the millions of Jews who were slaughtered in the nations over the centuries simply because they were Jews.

Chief Rabbi of the UK Jonathan Sacks – a very stimulating and penetrating thinker, who often hits the nail on the head – has made a series of presentations in which he looks at the nature of anti-Semitism. In one of these he demonstrates that anti-Zionism and delegitimisation of the State of Israel is not fair and reasonable criticism, as many claim, but just another form of anti-Semitism – ie. hatred of Jews because they are Jews.

Read the article..

“What is truth?” (John 18:38)

This past week I have been struck by several public statements, purporting to be truth, which have all created a vigorous debate. At the centre of the debate is the question – were these statements true or not? And who decides?

In a sermon at Easter, a Polish bishop accused the Jewish people (without naming them, of course) of conspiring against the catholic Church in the 1930’s: “A certain nation, I can’t name it because I would be attacked from all sides immediately, said this: ‘Our natural enemy is the Catholic Church. We need to slander them and sow hatred against them, we have to create scandals about their private lives to incite hatred and ridicule against them. We must strengthen our media because then our control will be strong and secure’,” he said.

The reactions on social media were very interesting. Some said: he should be reprimanded for spreading such lies. Others said – it doesn’t matter whether he spoke the truth or not: freedom of speech means he should be allowed to say what he wants.

Read the article..

Israeli politician Yair Lapid said in an interview that “Poles cooperated in creating and running extermination camps. Poles handed over Jews to the Germans and thus sent them to death.” This was immediately dismissed by some as “a conscious lie”. The question how far Poles were guilty of participating in the death camps in their territory remains a deeply sensitive topic.

Many accuse Israel of being an “apartheid” state. Outgoing French ambassador to the US Gérard Araud recently said that Israel will have to either make Palestinians totally stateless or turn them into its citizens. “They won’t make them citizens of Israel,” he said. “So they will have to make it official…which is an apartheid. There will be officially an apartheid state. They are in fact already.“

Such statements are tricky because they are based partly on fact (Israelis and non-Israeli’s ARE treated differently in the disputed territories), partly on emotion (everyone hates apartheid), partly on what is not said (there are many very good reasons why there is such separate treatment) and partly on insinuation (it is always the fault of the Jews). That is what makes them so powerful – and so difficult to combat.

Read the article..

Who can claim to be speaking the truth, who can claim to be right?
We live in a world where absolute truth is rejected. Every person is entitled to his or her own truth – to create his/her own reality. No-one may claim to speak the absolute truth. Perhaps we have come so far that no-one may even claim that there is such a things as truth.

We are overwhelmed by information. Never had any society had as much knowledge as we have today. We can see into the universe, we even know how to create life. Yet we have no understanding.

Until fairly recently it was possible to have rational debates about matters of truth and falsehood. It is increasingly impossible to convince others of objective truths. At a certain point in time, people believe what they want to believe. Paul described the time of the anti-Christ as a time of deception. Satan (as he has always done) uses lies to drive a wedge between God and His creation. In the end time, people will believe a lie simply because they do not want to know the truth: “They perished because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thes. 2:10).

There is no common foundation any more, except our selves. The only thing that will be universally accepted will be for man to worship himself as the author of truth.

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life”. If we remain in Him, we will be sure to remain in His truth.

Shabbat shalom


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