Watching over Zion: 16th November 2017
The Word: Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. (Isaiah 59:14-15)
Again the word of the LORD Almighty came to me. This is what the LORD Almighty says: "I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her." This is what the LORD says: "I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain." This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with cane in hand because of his age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there." This is what the LORD Almighty says: "It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvelous to me?" declares the LORD Almighty. This is what the LORD Almighty says: "I will save My people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be My people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God." (Zechariah 8:1-8)
Pointers for prayer: Once again, as you read through the latest Watching over Zion News Report please proclaim the Word of God over these issues. Please pray in line with the Scriptures: "Arise, O Lord. Do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men." (Psalm 9:19,20) "The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever... The people He has chosen as His own inheritance." (Psalm 33:10-12) Please pray for those within Israel and throughout the world who scheme against the Jewish nation. Please do continue to pray for the truth to be revealed regarding how Israel is portrayed by the media. There is still far too much distortion within the media, which is being blindly accepted by many people without checking the truth. Give thanks to the Lord for a successful evening regarding the event that many CFI supporters were at last Tuesday November 7, at the Royal Albert Hall. This amazing evening was a mix of music, song and drama as we celebrated the issues of the Balfour Declaration.
Thoughts on the Balfour 100 As you well know, this past week marked the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which helped pave the way for the re-establishment of what is now the modern State of Israel. However from what was a strong Christian based thinking, many within the church today dismiss this important event and consider Israel simply as a “political mistake”.
On Tuesday November 7, 2017, I was one of thousands of people “celebrating” this 100th anniversary at the Royal Albert Hall in London. However, in my heart of hearts, or deep within my ‘kishkes’ I had mixed feelings over this event.
The Declaration is often thought to be the product of a relatively ‘modern movement’ for the physical restoration of Jews to a geographical homeland – if indeed one can call ‘100 years’ a modern movement. The fact is however, as I mentioned in my last report, British support for the Jewish people goes back a long
way into the history books. Indeed, the modern State of Israel is a culmination of a vision for the restoration of the Jewish people to their Biblical homeland which had developed within the Church in Great Britain over the previous three hundred years. This vision, supported by the great Christian Revivalists and Bible Teachers such as John & Charles Wesley, Charles Simeon, Robert Murray McCheyne, C H Spurgeon and Bishop J C Ryle amongst many others, was based on the Covenants of Promise as well as other prophetic Scriptures found in the Bible. Many Christians were inspired to pray for the fulfilment of this vision and prominent leaders in England and Scotland, including William Wilberforce, Lord Palmerston and Lord Shaftesbury, encouraged the British government to actively support the restoration of Israel. We need to note these words carefully. One can only ‘restore’ something that has already been in place.
Today however, the world has changed! Thankfully, the British Prime Minister Theresa May told the Arab Palestinians that there would be “No apology for the Balfour Declaration”. Her Majesty’s government under Theresa May slammed the door shut emphatically refusing to apologize for the publication, a century ago, of a document that legitimized the re-creation of a future Jewish state, saying instead that it is proud of the role Britain played in re-establishing Israel. This however, didn’t mean that the Arab Palestinian Authority (AKA the PLO) had given up their demands. Nor did it mean that those in the UK who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel (BDS) would remain silent. Sadly even outside the Royal Albert Hall, a group of pro-Palestinian, or rather anti-Israel supporters were cordoned off by the Police. This didn’t stop a few of them getting through and demanding we paid attention to their poster stating “Israel was an Apartheid State” and that “Israel was illegally occupying Arab Palestinian land” – both accounts grossly untrue.
Thankfully, the demonstrations were much smaller than expected, however there was still an ‘atmosphere of hatred and intolerance’ ringing out from the demonstrators to those who wanted to celebrate the Balfour 100.
So why do I state I have mixed feelings over the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration? Surely, I should be proud of it? Well think of it this way. Every year, for the past 99 years, the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration has passed by quietly in Israel with hardly any notice. Only this year it is being noted and celebrated because it is the 100th anniversary. So why is it that Israelis, who are supposed to be the direct beneficiaries of the Balfour Declaration, have been ignoring it, while to the Islamic Arab Palestinians it is so important?
As Itamar Marcus stated this week, “Why does the PA focus on Balfour? They should be mourning the first major Aliyah in 1882 or the first Zionist Congress in 1897 more than the Balfour Declaration which was Britain's response to an already active Zionist movement.” And that’s exactly why I have mixed feelings. The 100th anniversary has given a platform for the Islamic PLO to raise its voice. For the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Balfour Declaration is a necessary component of the Palestinian narrative. After all, the two foundations of Palestinian ideology, both fictitious, are that an “Islamic Arab Palestinian nation existed for thousands of years and that there never had been a Jewish presence in the Land of Israel” – hence Abbas demanding the United Nations to recognise the lie that there was no Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall have only ever been Islamic! But this left one huge problem. The PA/PLO needed to explain to its own people just why millions of Jews had immigrated from Europe and all over the world, if they had no connection to the land. The PLO's answer is that colonialism and Balfour is the "proof."
In his very good article, Itamar Marcus (PMW) states, “According to the PA's adjusted narrative, Balfour and Britain's support were not one step in the growing Zionist movement, but were the beginning of all Jewish history in the land. And Jews were chosen by Britain only because the Jews were so "evil" that Europe was looking for a way to be rid of them. A documentary that has been broadcast five times on PA and Fatah TV since 2013 explains: "Faced with the Jews' schemes, Europe could not bear their character traits, monopolies, corruption... The European nations felt that they had suffered a tragedy by providing refuge for the Jews. Later the Jews obtained the Balfour Declaration, and Europe saw it as an ideal solution to get rid of them." [Most recently PA TV Jan. 3, 2016]. The PA Ambassador to France Salman Al-Harfi
recently echoed this: "The [Balfour] Promise stemmed from the desire to solve what was called 'the Jewish problem' in Europe... so that Europe would be rid of the problem of its Jews." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 11, 2016]”
This sadly is a common occurrence from the PA. An ancient Islamic Arab Palestinian history is fabricated by the PA to fill the vacuum created by the erasing of actual Jewish history in the land. The Balfour Declaration is the document the Arab Palestinians wave to their own people to brandish this myth. And yet for Israelis, the Balfour Declaration was just another step in a series of significant events that had started decades before Balfour and continued after him, all contributing to the Jewish people's return to the Land of Israel.
Even though the Romans changed the name of Israel to ‘Palestine’ as a derogatory term after Israel’s enemy the Philistines (who were a Greek people, not Arab); And even though Rome destroyed the second Temple in Jerusalem, and drove the majority of Jews out of the land… just as in the days when the Babylonians exiled most of the Jews in the first exile, still some Jews remained in the land. And the Jewish people have always been the majority within the land over the last 4000 years.
In fairly recent history, the first major wave of immigration of Jews started in 1882, that is 35 years before Balfour's declaration and of course the first Zionist Congress was in 1897. And that is why Israelis today see the return to their land as something so normal and inevitable that no single event except for the declaration of statehood itself is regularly celebrated.
As Itamar Marcus, Director of Palestinian Media Watch (www.palwatch.org) rightly states, “The Palestinian Authority (PA) has transformed the Balfour Declaration from recognition of Jewish history in the land, into the starting point of Jewish history in the land. Without Balfour the PA has no hook upon which to anchor its warped reality. Had there been no Balfour Declaration, the PA would have had to invent it.”
So in celebrating the Balfour 100, we should not glory in man. Let us not put Lord Balfour on a pedestal and state “had it not been for him, Israel would not have returned.” For this is nonsense. Did God use Balfour? Most certainly. But Balfour is not the “be all and end all.” Remember, is it the Lord God of Israel that rebirthed the nation of Israel as a nation, as declared in the Word of God. During Bible times, a large section of the Promised Land was the area known as Judea and Samaria (or what the world now claims as ‘The West Bank’). As I wrote last time, according to the Bible, God has made an eternal covenant with the Jewish people (Genesis 17:7; Jeremiah 31:35-37; Romans 11:28-29). When He made this covenant with Abraham, God promised his descendants ownership of the land of Israel as an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:8). This promise of ownership was transferred through Isaac and Jacob to the 12 tribes of Israel (Genesis 26:3-4; 35:12; Psalm 105:8-11).
In essence, this is partly what the Balfour 100 celebrations are about. God promised a second regathering of the Jewish people to their land in the latter days, from which they will never be uprooted again (Isaiah 11:11-14; Jeremiah 16:14-16; Ezekiel 11:17; Amos 9:14-15). Again, it is written that the Jewish people will return to the land in unbelief, their return being a pre-condition for God to pour out His Spirit on them (Ezekiel 11:16-20; 20:42-43; 36:24-28; 37:12-14; 39:25-29; Jeremiah 32:37-41; 33:7-9). Yes, we can celebrate the Balfour 100, but let us give God the glory. And without doubt, that was what the celebration at the Royal Albert Hall was all about. The gospel was very prominent throughout the night’s celebration, and God was certainly glorified.
A night to remember This year has seen many celebrations such as when Israel celebrated the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p28nk5r8hks) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgmWxSHgL0Q). In the UK, The Royal Albert Hall was the place to celebrate the Balfour 100 as seen in this promotional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u62X5vE_4aM .
The evening of the 7th November 2017 was an amazing success. Moving throughout the historical time we watched the Israeli Dance Institute perform ‘Despair to hope.’ We listened to professional actors acting out Arthur Balfour & Chaim Weizmann discussing the issues of a Jewish homeland. The Israeli Dance Institute then performed ‘From hope to expectation.’ Israeli singer Tally Koren sang ‘Jerusalem of Gold’ and other songs. Dr David Schmidt & Kelvin Crombie told the story of the battle at Kibbutz Beersheba. There were many other performances and speakers including Pastor Dennis Greenidge, Rev David Campbell, Pastor Clive Urquhart and the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev. We also heard a statement being read by a group of today’s generation of young Christians. And we have a glorious time of praising God from a massed choir from the Nigerian Redeemed Church; Caleb Alalade; Juliet Dawn with Brenda Taylor and the amazing vast Holland Choir and Adoramus Orchestra.
For me there were four accounts for where emotions got the better of me. I listened in perfect stillness to renowned violinist Serguei Popov play his touching rendition of Schindler’s List main theme. I watched with pride as my son joined the many young Christians of today’s generation on stage declaring their support of Israel. And we almost lifted the roof off with a wonderful rendition of ‘O praise ye the Lord!’, while ending with the Hatikvah. With Jews and Christians under one roof – this was indeed a great occasion.
Just one other note I’d like to make in relation to the Balfour celebrations, although not present (to my knowledge) do listen to Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks speaks on the Balfour 100. I feel this is a very good message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSxPjCo3wwk
In closing… I don’t really want to close on a negative issue, but feel this is important for pray.
It was really sad to see Priti Patel being forced to resign over meetings with Israeli officials. Yes she may have been a little unwise to meet Israeli officials without clearing it with her superiors, but I wonder, had it been any other nation but Israel, would the Labour party have really been so outraged? Certainly that is a question Tom Gross has been asking. Tom Gross is a British-born journalist, international affairs commentator, and human rights campaigner specializing in the Middle East. You can listen here on why he feels, [quote] “Britain is a country where it is apparently now ok for (prime minister in waiting) Jeremy Corbyn to refuse to speak to Jewish groups… while there are those in the British foreign office that would hate the UK to show backing to Israel’s efforts to treat injured Syrian children, as ousted International Aid minister Priti Patel sought to do.” His short interview is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrXP86e7CPc&feature=share
It was also sad to read that the Media had reported Priti Patel as “wanting to give aid money to the Israeli army” when in fact this was not the case. Whether correctly following protocol or not, Patel went looking for an effective way of channelling some aid to injured Syrians. You can read a full report on this from HonestReporting here: http://honestreporting.com/a-not-so-priti-headline-fail-the-guardian-pri... .
It is only last year that it was reported that the British government’s Department for International Development had frozen part of its aid to the Palestinian Authority over concerns the aid was being used to fund salaries for convicted Arab Palestinian terrorists. Is this still the case? And for how long did British taxpayer’s money go to salaries for convicted Arab Palestinian terrorists?
(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent)
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/