Eye on the Middle East Mar/Apr 2012

For nearly all of its 64 years, the State of Israel has faced constant threats to its survival as a democratic, Jewish nation. The courage, tenacity, ingenuity, and determination with which it has consistently and successfully faced those threats are nothing short of amazing.

Yet current threats seem even more alarming than previous ones. However, something is afoot at the prime minister’s official residence that can only help the struggle against uncompromising enemies.

Why uncompromising? Because despite talk about “peace,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has said Hamas will never alter its long-term goal of eliminating Israel.

In Egypt, the previously outlawed Muslim Brotherhood has now risen to power and poses a great threat to the 32-year-old cold, but stable, peace at Israel’s southern border.

Turkey, once an ally and good friend, has downgraded its formal diplomatic ties with Israel and suspended its military cooperation. Today the relationship is strained.

North Korea regularly supplies military arms to many of Israel’s enemies and nuclear technology to Iran. No one knows for sure where the new, young Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un will take his country and how that direction will affect Israel.

Then, of course, there is the looming menace that is Iran. Israeli President Shimon Peres has called Iran “the greatest threat faced by Israel.” For the past several years, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has continually called for Israel’s destruction.

With all these threats swirling around, what is happening at the prime minister’s residence? Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to do some-thing that can never hurt. He will host a Bible study at his official residence. Reported Israel Today, “Netanyahu made the announcement on the 30-day anniversary of the passing of his father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, who was a respected Israeli poet and Bible teacher. Ben-Artzi used to attend the regular Bible studies hosted by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.”

Netanyahu said, “Ben-Gurion understood that the Book of Books is our mandate for our country. He viewed the Bible as the wondrous story of the Jewish people, the unique spiritual, cultural and historic heritage of our people, and also as one of the cornerstones of all of human culture.”

The study will be open to researchers, public officials, and invited guests. “The father of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, Menachem Begin, also used to host regular Bible studies at the prime minister’s residence,” reported Israel Today. “Netanyahu said he wanted to reinstate that practice in order to encourage love of the Bible among government officials, and by extension, the nation.”

Whether he realizes it or not, this action could lead Netanyahu and his country to great success. Joshua 1:8 promises success for the one who meditates on the Book of the Law. In 2 Kings 22:8 a young King Josiah recovered the “Book of the Law in the house of the Lᴏʀᴅ.” Upon hearing what was written, he tore his clothes as a sign of repentance (v. 11). Other Jewish leaders, such as Moses  and Nehemiah, recognized the wisdom of applying one’s heart to God’s Word.

So as events unfold in the Middle East and “experts” provide their solutions, let’s pray the prime minister’s Bible study will give him God’s own solutions. Let us also pray that his study will encourage many Israelis to follow suit.

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