Weekly Update: Rome and Jerusalem

editor - 15 October 2021

This week a conference was organized in Rome by the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast – a global movement of Christians and Jews who pray for Jerusalem and encourage the nations to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people.

At a meeting in the Italian Senate in Rome, several Italian senators spoke about the importance of supporting the right of the Jewish people to nationhood, and equal treatment of the Jewish State of Israel. Senator Matteo Salvini even spoke the hope that Italy will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, in recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel.

Italy and Rome have a special relationship with the Jewish people – both positive and negative. There was a large Jewish community in Rome, and the Apostle Paul wrote an important letter to the Christians in Rome. The Roman general Titus destroyed the Second Temple in 70CE, and the Roman Emperor Hadrian destroyed Jerusalem in 135CE and renamed the land “Syria Palaestina” and Jerusalem “Aelia Capitolina” – both these Roman names intended to erase all Jewish connection with the land.

It is a miracle that in San Remo in Italy, in 1920 the Allied Powers (Britain, France, Italy, US and Japan) recognized that the Jewish people should be enabled to re-establish their homeland in “Palestine”. Their decision was ratified and implemented in the Mandate for Palestine adopted by the League of Nations in 1923. The text of the Mandate included the words of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 in which Britain “viewed with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Expanding on Balfour, the mandate also invoked the Jews’ “historical connection to the land” and recognized their right to settle it “closely.”

Today, one hundred years after “San Remo”, it has become mainstream to regard the Jews as colonizing foreigners, who are “occupying” land that belongs to “the Palestinians”. The old city of Jerusalem – Jewish in origin – has been renamed “Arab East Jerusalem”, and Judea and Samaria are called “the West Bank”.

There is much debate about the legal status of San Remo and the Mandate. But perhaps the most important point is that they are evidence of the fact that the Jewish people, scattered around the world, have always maintained a unique historical and spiritual connection with the land, including Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

This fact does not mean Palestinians have no rights. But it is a falsehood to say that the Jews have no historical connection to the land, that they are no more than “occupiers”, that Jews have no rights to live in the land of their forefathers, or that the whole of the land “belongs to the Palestinian people”.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

Did the San Remo Conference Advance or Undermine the Prospects for a Jewish State? 

In 1920, at San Remo in Italy, the French formally yielded to the British insistence on exclusive control of Palestine and Mesopotamia in return for exclusive French control of Syria.

Martin Kramer argues that the San Remo resolution on Palestine was deliberately ambiguous because the British and French did not agree on allowing the Jewish people to achieve sovereignty. “San Remo left an unfortunate legacy of ambiguity regarding Jewish sovereignty and its extent, an ambiguity that Zionism had to struggle to overcome. This should be acknowledged—precisely out of respect for the grit of the founders, who perfectly grasped the ambivalence of the “international community” on the matter of a Jewish state. Only in 1947 did the idea of such a state receive any shred of international legitimacy.”
> Read more..

This article led to an important debate with Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, who argues that San Remo is important because it led to the Mandate for Palestine, which in turn determined the borders (but not the legitimacy) of the State of Israel. “Under international law, when a new country is established, it automatically inherits the borders of the last top-level administrative unit of that territory…. Israel, a Jewish state, was the only state established in the territory of Mandatory Palestine, and thus inherits the borders of its predecessor entity.”
> Read more..

Europe’s deadly hypocrisy

Melanie Philips writes: “Both among American liberals and in Britain and Europe, malicious myths about Israel’s allegedly illegal or oppressive behaviour and the rights of the Palestinians have gained alarming traction as axiomatic truths.”
> Read more..


The Worship Service | Romans 9-11 with Johannes Gerloff #15

Do we worship the Creator of the heavens and the earth? And if we do, where does our worship originate? In our feelings? In our culture? In our theological considerations? Paul teaches: “The worship service” belongs to “those who are Israelites”.

Scripture for the week

Jeremiah 23:5-8

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:   The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

“So then, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.