Weekly Update: The Feast of Tabernacles

editor - 2 October 2020

The news in Israel continues to be dominated by the Corona virus as it ravages the country, and the ongoing critical political tensions.

At the same time, another deeply intractable conflict in the region has erupted: war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. As Seth Frantzman reports, how this conflict will unfold is unclear, but it will definitely have repercussions for Israel – not least because of Turkey’s strong involvement supporting Azerbaijan.

Turkey, Iran and Russia are the players to watch at the moment. And China, which recently reached a strategic alliance with Iran. See the article by Johannes de Jong, who challenges “pro-Israel” advocates to see the bigger picture.

In the same vein, Khaled Abu Toameh in Gatestone observes a deepening alliance between Iran, Qatar, Turkey and Hamas.

In the midst of all of this, the UN and EU continue to believe they can engineer world peace, repeating ad infinitum the mantra that “the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the future capital for both states, is the only way to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the region”. It seems they cannot contemplate any alternative to the paradigm which, after 70 years, has failed to do what it was intended to achieve – bring peace in the region. Rather, it has led to complete stalemate, and those on the ground are increasingly wondering if it is any longer relevant.

The EU is especially stuck in this paradigm, which is its own creation. In a blog in Times of Israel, Andrew Tucker reports on the prosecution of Israel Products Centre in Holland for misleading labels on wines imported from Hebron, and explains how the European leaders have used “Doublespeak” to mislead EU citizens (and themselves) about the character and status of “Judea and Samaria”.

The nations rage and fight, but for how much longer? The “time of the Gentiles” is approaching its end. In the coming days, the Jewish people will celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth). This feast has huge prophetic significance. All points towards Jerusalem. The prophet Zachariah says that one day – after the Messiah has come to destroy those nations who fight against Jerusalem, and stands on the Mount of Olives – the nations will go up to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast too. Then the peace shall go forth from Jerusalem, and the nations will train for war no more.

Let us hope that time is soon.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

The Dangerous New Iran-Qatar-Turkey-Hamas Alliance

Khaled Abu Toameh in Gatestone: Abbas has already damaged the Palestinians’ relations with some Arab countries by condemning the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for signing peace treaties with Israel…. Now it appears that the Palestinians are also headed toward ruining their relations with Egypt because of Abbas’s decision to make peace with Hamas and appease Iran, Turkey and Qatar. Read more..

Do clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan matter to Israel? – analysis

By Seth Frantzman in Jerusalem Post:

With new peace deals in the Gulf and discussions about what countries might be next to recognize Israel, the Caucasus seems far away. However, it would be a mistake to think that this brewing conflict is not of great concern to Israel, because of wider strategic ramifications and the Israeli relationship with the countries involved. This is particularly true because the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict is potentially a crossroads for Turkey, Russia and Iran and their rising roles in the Middle East. Read more..

UNSC members: Israeli-Palestinian talks must be based on pre-1967 lines

Tovah Lazaroff reports at JPost:

United Nations Security Council members Tuesday pushed back at US President Donald Trump’s peace plan by calling for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks based on the pre-1967 lines, even as they lauded the normalization deals he brokered between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
“We remain convinced that sustainable peace, security and stability in the Middle East cannot be reached without a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in line with international law and relevant UN resolutions,” four European Union nations that are also Security Council members said. Read more..

George Orwell and EU law on products from Judea and Samaria

Andrew Tucker in Times of Israel: “By referring to Judea and Samaria as “West Bank” and “occupied territories”, European leaders are doing the same as Emperor Hadrian did in 135 AD when he renamed Jerusalem “Aelia Capitolina”, and Judea “Palaestina”. By consistently stating that they are not part of Israel but of “Palestine”, and by branding all Israeli’s who live or carry on business there as criminals, the EU and its member states (such as the Netherlands) use language to impose on their citizens a one-sided and politically-motivated interpretation of history and the law.” Read more..

The Future of Pro-Israel Advocacy

Johannes de Jong writes in Israel & Christians Today:

The Middle East is, once again, the fault line between freedom and oppression. And Israel appears to be an indispensable partner to maintain freedom in that region and the world. The UAE – Israel agreement has to be understood in that light. The slow reforms in the Arab world as well. There where one can detect slow change in the Arab world towards freedom, we see the reverse in Turkey, Iran and those areas that fall under Iranian or Turkish influence. One cannot imagine that freedom can keep a foothold in that part of the world without Israel. Actually, one representative of the Baloch people in Iran made exactly that point in the Jerusalem Post on 12 January 2019: “The reality of the world and the region dictates the need for more strategic cooperation and understanding between the oppressed nations of the Middle East and Israel.”

In my opinion, it is important that those who are active in advocacy for Israel see this broader picture and adapt accordingly. That would also build on the Israel/UAE/Bahrain agreements. If President Trump fails to win a second term, it is clear that pro-Israel advocacy will have to make an argument that reaches beyond the traditional constituency. Clarifying the position of Israel as an essential party in the global defence of freedom would communicate reality in a way that many more can relate with. Read more..

Shabtai Rosenne: The Transformation of Sefton Rowson

For those interested in law and politics, here is an interesting essay by Rotem Giladi (University of Helsinki) about Shabtai Rosenne, born as Sefton Rowson in Manchester in 1917, who became Israel’s first Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1948, and later one of the greatest international lawyers of the 20th century.

“Shabtai Rosenne passed away in 2010. The many obituaries – including a eulogy, followed by a minute’s silence, by the ICJ President in session – celebrate the known accomplishments of a renowned international jurist. His engagement with international law requires no demonstration. His engagement with Jewish affairs, however, remains entirely unknown, as are early chapters of his life and career. How these two engagements related to one another is, necessarily, entirely unexplored.” Read more..

“The Righteousness of Abraham” – Video teaching by Johannes Gerloff

Episode 38 in the series of teachings by Israeli-based Bible teacher and journalist Johannes Gerloff:


Scripture for the week: Zachariah 14

A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.

I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.

On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.

The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.

10 The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. 11 It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.

12 This is the plague with which the Lord will strikeall the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 On that day people will be stricken by the Lord with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. 14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.

16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. 18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.

20 On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. 21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty.


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