At The Jerusalem Conference:
The Future City of Truth!
Friday, January 30, 2009
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But today it is not so. I have spent 3 days this week at the Jerusalem Conference held at the Regency Hotel on Mt. Scopus. We listened to many speakers--political leaders, journalists, Rabbis as they addressed various aspects of the Conference theme, which was "New Leadership, New Directions."
EXTRA this week!
Bible in the news presents a special half-hour interview by Paul Billington with Yishai Fleisher recorded at Israel National Radio in Bethel Israel. Click here for the MP3.
Welcome to the Bible in the News from Jerusalem, Israel. (Note: for the next 3 weeks, God willing, Bible in the News will be from Jerusalem Israel.) This is Paul Billington speaking with you in this city which the prophet Zechariah says "shall be called the City of Truth" (Zech. 8:3). That is the destiny of this city--a city which will be filled with people who know the Truth, and live the truth.
Well, Israel certainly needs new leadership, but what we heard was men and women--the so-called "experts"--who clearly believed in Israel's own strength, in its army, and in its ability to negotiate. For the most part you could say there was lip-service to the God of Israel, and indeed to the vision of the prophets--as the Director of the conference quoted: "From out of Zion shall go out Torah, and the Word of God from Jerusalem." This, we know, will come to pass, but not until the hearts of this people have been turned to the ways of their fathers.
But what is happening here today is that these people are looking and searching for new solutions and for new directions. They desperately want peace--but the way of peace they know not. In fact the peace that they seek seems to be as elusive as ever as the world becomes more and more hostile towards the Jewish State.
One aspect of this which was discussed at the conference in Jerusalem concerns the U.N. The United Nations organisation which continuously casts Israel as the main villain in the modern world. This was referenced by the Assistant Editor of the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, when she said that the U.N. was waging a political war against Israel with the goal of destroying the nation. How can we not bring to mind the words of Joel 3:2 and Zechariah 14:2 when we see all nations gathering against this city and against this nation. This is how Caroline Glick expressed it in her address to the conference
"What we see in the UN action against Israel is political warfare against the Jewish State. The aim of this political warfare is to destroy Israel just as the aim of our enemies on the battlefield is to destroy Israel. So if this is political warfare then we have to respond to it with political warfare. There are two basic parts to the political warfare strategy regarding the UN. The first aspect of the political warfare strategy regarding the United Nations is not to try to come to an accommodation (with those people) but to act as a mirror of the United Nations to expose its evil designs to its member countries and to shame them in public for what they are doing (clapping)... Just as torn up the General Assembly resolution calling Zionism a form of racism. Our job should be to deligitimize this organization because it seeks to deligitimize our country and (thereby) destroy our country and therefore we have to deligitimize it (clapping).
The second thing that we have to do is to--yes--go to the separate governments that are member nations of the United Nations and appeal to their common interests with us, and work with them outside the UN structure to enable us to build alliances what Don Rumsfeld called (and for some reason was criticized for) a “coalition of the willing” that are based on common interests of various states in the world that come together to serve common purposes. ... various ideas (like) a United Nations of democracies... not allowing authoritarian governments to enter in. That might be a start, but these are the kinds of things we should be doing. We should be acting as a mirror towards the United Nations to shame it publicly, and each and every single one of its states... and we should be trying to subvert it by going outside the United Nations to get what needs to be done, done (clapping).
Finally just a word about the Obama administration. I think that America’s support for and later abstention of Resolution 1850 in operation Cast Lead was an indication of what is to come with the Obama Administration. It was not the last gasp of Condoleezza Rice--it was the first breath of Susan Rice, the new US Ambassador to the UN who has received cabinet rating for the position. I think that Israel going forward must not assume that the United States will veto Security Council resolutions that are anti-Israel, and this just underlines the importance for the next Israeli Government to make every single effort at the United Nations and outside of it to deligitimize this organization because when these resolutions are not vetoed, then the United States will come under increasing international pressure as the months and years go by (not to accept) our legitimacy as a nation state. And that is why it becomes more incumbent on every single one of us, certainly on the next Government, to do everything in our powwer to deligitimise this organization.
So thank you very much for your time (clapping)."
If Caroline Glick is right, and Israel loses the support of the United States, then the picture becomes very bleak for this nation and its people. Who will help to protect her from her enemies? More than once we heard the words of Psalm 120:6,7 quoted in addresses at this conference:
"My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war."
Well, we saw on display the crumpled remains of Kassam rockets. We heard the news of cease-fire violations in the south--yes, peace still seems a long way off. So speaker after speaker gave their views on the situation--and with only just over a week to go before the election of a new government here, the speeches got a little fiery at times.
We listened to the former Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon, to university professors, to political leaders like Benjamin Netanyahu, Dr. Uzi Landau, MK Eli Yishai. We heard the former Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky championing the virtues of democracy and freedom--to journalists like Melanie Phillips of Britain's Daily Mail--and of course, the Rabbis. It was a feast of ideas, analysis and suggested solutions.
On one point nearly all speakers favoured the unity of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. Jerusalem should not be divided they insisted. History and archaeology were brought into the argument for this one. We heard Dr. Eilat Mazar the archaeologist describe how the remains of the palace of King David has been found here in Jerusalem--something we hope to cover further in the Bible Magazine.
One thing that strikes you in digesting all this is the fact that in returning to this Land, the Jewish people are returning to Biblical facts. They are being brought face to face with their ancient Scriptures, and with the realities contained therein.
The majority of the speeches were delivered in Hebrew of course, though an English translation was provided. In the address about leadership for Israel, given by the chairman of a new political party in Israel--Ya'akov Katz--a very significant statement was made--namely that God was the real leader of Israel. Here is part of his speech--you will hear the female translator speaking in English. (The following is adapted from the translation):
"I would like to speak about leadership. I studied in the school of Rabbi Kohen Kook. He said that Abraham said I am nothing. I am dust, and he said, and what are we? We are nothing. And King David said about himself “I am a worm, not a person.” So the first need is humility for leadership, knowing that you are the servant of the public and you have nothing to boast about. You are nothing in yourself compared with all of Israel. So people look back at the leaders we had 60 years ago, and some remember that we also have Judaism. But in my vision I see Israeli leadership as leaning on King David ... King David is described as someone who’s studied Torah and when he studied Torah he would become gentle, and when he went out to fight he became as strong as a tree. We need leaders who are learned people on the one hand, and heroes in the battle field on the other hand....
"As a young man I’ve always known that the people of Israel (would) go back to the Land of Israel. Not today. It started thousands of years ago. This is not a private business. We have a Supreme leader who is God in Heaven. He is the One who took us to exile and He is the One who brings us back to Israel. He’s told us that through the Torah, and through the prophets; every thing we see today started with the prophets’ vision...
What we see today is a fulfillment of the vision of the prophets. The people of Israel have come back after thousands of years."
Such words are significant, for in spite of a general widespread unbelief, there are signs here and there of the beginnings of a spiritual awakening. Not a complete awakening--and certainly no recognition of their true Messiah. But there is a recognition of God's Hand at work. We think of Hosea 3:4,5.
"For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days."
May it be that this people who today walk in darkness, may soon see the great light of truth, that this city will at last be filled with a people who believe and know the Truth, both Jew and Gentile joined together as one in Christ Jesus the Son of David.
Join us again next week, God willing at bibleinthenews.com
Printed: Friday, January 30, 2009
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