Israel’s Sovereignty — A Biblical Stand
By Sarah Ann Haves
Israel recently marked November 29, 2015 as 68 years since the UN recognition of a Jewish State in the land of Israel. In his comments at his weekly government cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the outbreak of murderous attacks the day after that momentous decision 68 years ago. “As it was then, so it is today; we continue to fight terrorism. This terrorism has been with us for almost 100 years and we have defeated it time and again; we will defeat it this time, as well.”
Netanyahu [draws] parallels
Netanyahu was referring to the continued daily attacks on Israeli Jews by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, since September 2015, in what IDF (Israel’s Defense Forces) are now calling a limited uprising (intifada). Netanyahu declared in his remarks at the cabinet meeting that what drives the current terrorism is the opposition that these attackers have to the existence of the State of Israel as the National State of the Jewish People within any borders. He explains that radical Islam is joining this opposition, striking nations around the world. Netanyahu continues to draw parallels between the attacks on Israel and those of other free, independent and democratic societies.
In meetings last week with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Netanyahu was willing to consider new gestures that would make life easier for the Palestinians in the territories in exchange for American recognition of Israel’s right to build in settlement blocs that Israel would retain in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians. Kerry refused Netanyahu’s offer. Reports indicate that Netanyahu was also considering a unilateral withdrawal of a small portion of Israeli land as a concession to the Palestinians, which the Prime Minister’s office vigorously denied.
While Netanyahu has often declared his willingness to work towards a “two-state solution”, there are others within his government and in the Opposition that say he will not concede to the creation of a Palestinian State. Nevertheless, Netanyahu often defends Israel’s right to a secure Jewish and democratic state while emphasizing his willingness for the Palestinians to have their own demilitarized state. But, it is not always clear where Netanyahu stands on Israel’s sovereignty over its own territory.
In a political journal called, “Sovereignty”, published by the right-wing organization Women in Green, several Israeli leaders explain why they do not think that Netanyahu is defending the state of Israel, successfully, beyond issues of safety and security.
Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin comments, “A determined battle must be waged to change the way Israel presents itself to the outside world. This is where we are at this stage. We must speak about sovereignty and raise the subject continuously…”
According to Attorney Yossi Fuchs, the head of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, the Israeli diplomatic corps must stop the discourse that centers on security and focus on a legal and historical discourse. “Instead of claiming that we are realizing our rights on the Land, we speak of security. The Palestinians speak of justice and we speak about terror, and when you continue to speak only about self-defense, the world tells you that the simplest solution is to give them back their land and you will have quiet.”
Fuchs sees a road map leading to a Palestinian state as a fatal mistake. And, he takes issue with Netanyahu for adopting the mainstream Israeli terminology that when the Palestinians stop their acts of terror, then two states can be established.
Israeli Gen. (Res.) Uzi Dayan writes in the same political journal that as a boy living in Emek Yizrael, his studies were conducted in the field with the Bible in hand. “For us, the Bible was both history and our deed of ownership to the land.” While Dayan admits that the Israelis in his class did not study the Bible as a sacred book, they knew what was in it. When Dayan brings tours to Israel, they pass through the Jordan Valley and he focuses on security; they pass through Judea and Samaria and he focuses on history. According to Dayan, “The sense of belonging begins in the people’s hearts, and when people are not familiar with their land, they do not feel connected to it.”
Yet, Israel seems to have lost its way when it comes to national identity. Because of the make-up of Netanyahu’s current government, which is comprised of a narrow right-wing coalition, the Prime Minister is trying, once again, to establish a nationalistic bill that would cement Israel’s right to the land as the Nation State of the Jewish People. Still, there are those who say he is not going far enough.
Perhaps, because of the pressure on Netanyahu to take a stronger public stand for Israel’s rights to its own land, he recently gave a new twist on the subject of Israeli sovereignty. At the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on November 18, 2015, Netanyahu stated, “The Palestinians will have to finally recognize the Jewish State… After all, we’ve only been here about 4,000 years. We have some connection to this city. Four hundred yards (from here) is David’s City. An equal distance, this Temple Mount, where there was a temple; the place where Abraham first visited; and Solomon built a temple; and Jesus overturned the money changing tables on that Temple (Mount); all this from Solomon’s time to the rise of Islam, the seat of Islam, by 1500 years… We have some connection to this land, to this city!”
Netanyahu added, “We recognize that there are another people here and we need to forge a peace. So, we need to sit down and discuss the issue of mutual recognition.”
Unfortunately, it is this willingness by Israeli leaders, not just Netanyahu but also his predecessors, to recognize a Palestinian right to Israeli land, that is hurting Israel’s narrative. How can Israeli leaders then determine to get the international community to recognize Israel’s right to its own sovereignty on that same land?
How can the international
Education Minister Naftali Bennett is concerned that Netanyahu may take unilateral steps in the future in order to appease the Palestinians. At the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference he proclaimed, “I will do everything possible to prevent unilateral withdrawals. And, I will do everything in my power to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian State smack in the heart of Israel…. This land belongs to the Jewish People.” Bennett reminded the audience, “One cannot occupy his own home.”
Bennett has a plan for Israel to apply its sovereignty on to Area C where there are roughly 450,000 Israelis and less than 100,000 Palestinians living. He recommends that Israel offer the Palestinians full Israeli citizenship. Then, make sure that Israel obtains the settlement blocs (all of Israeli controlled areas). In Areas A and B, Bennett thinks that Israel should provide the Palestinians with enhanced autonomy, allowing them to run their own schools, hospitals, finances, etc. This is his idea of unilateralism.
In Bennett’s concluding remarks at the diplomatic conference, he spoke of Jewish identity. “My vision for Israel is to be a lighthouse in this huge, huge Islamic storm. We are a lighthouse that pierces those clouds.”
Marking November 29th, 2015, Israel’s leaders recognize that they are still fighting for Israeli sovereignty in their own land. They have a long way to go to convince the international community that Israel’s narrative is the correct one. If Israeli leaders can get beyond the security issues, explaining the historical rights of the Jewish People, it will still not be enough. Bringing up sovereignty issues as they relate to Israel’s biblical identity should be a priority focus. Israel’s convincing narrative is that it is the Israelites’ covenant with the God of Israel through His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that entitles them to rightful ownership. It is this narrative that must be heard in order for Israel to have the best defense for determining its sovereignty in the Jewish Homeland.
“The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you." Genesis 35:12
“I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. Leviticus 26:42
(c) 2015 Messianic Vision all rights reserved. This article is not reproducible except with permisson from Messianic Vision.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues in Israel and the nations.