Rachel Is Still Weeping
In Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not (Mt. 2:18).
Just outside the entrance to the town of Bethlehem stands a tomb. It is the tomb of the patriarch Jacob’s beloved Rachel. Two thousand years ago, the writer of Matthew’s Gospel selected this quotation from the prophet Jeremiah to describe events of his day. Herod the Great had dispatched Roman legionnaires to the village to slaughter all children two years old and under. They were the calculated victims of his fiendish paranoia. To Herod’s demented mind, these babies threatened his authority and unmitigated lust for power. Therefore, they were dispensable.
But brutality was nothing new to this petty tyrant. There came a time when he felt it expedient to murder his own sons, Alexander and Aristobulous, and his professed favorite wife, Mariamne. Crazy? Not to him. It made perfect sense to Herod to secure his position at the expense of the innocent. Whether they were children or adults made no difference. It was Herod alone who mattered—a fact of history that is quite incomprehensible to people in Western democracies who are spoon fed from childhood on the notion that innocent people should be protected.
One might conclude that these facts are ancient history, and civilized people in the 21st century no longer operate on such callous principles. Don’t believe it.
Although Rachel has been in her tomb for millennia, we still hear the echo of the prophet Jeremiah. And, as her tomb grows freshly pockmarked with the bullet holes put there by a new generation of Herodian kindred spirits, Rachel still weeps for her children.
During the Israeli Defense Forces’ recent incursion to round up Palestinian militants, Palestinian terrorists decided to storm the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and take nuns, priests, and innocent civilians as hostages to be used as shields that would spare them the retribution they had brought down on their own heads.
This ploy, of course, is nothing new. Yasser Arafat’s cronies have a long history of using innocent people as shields to protect their own lives. Yet these are the same individuals who convince their children to become “heroic” suicide bombers, while they themselves cower behind the skirts of nuns and priests, trying to save themselves.
A Look Into Bethlehem
While the church was being occupied, The Jerusalem Post’s Arieh O’Sullivan donned military garb and ventured into Jesus’ birthplace, now an enclave for
Muslim terrorism. Here is some of what she found:
Water from a broken main gushes into the streets, now filled with plastic bags of garbage that the residents have thrown out and which, of course, have not been picked up. Tanks and armored personnel carriers are packed in most of the main streets circling the town center. . . . We reach the massive walls of the Armenian monastery. Its tiny but thick solid wooden door, hundreds of years old, has been blasted off its hinges. What is left of it is leaning precariously in place.1
Ironically, while his 200 henchmen holed up in the Church of the Nativity were desecrating the site, Arafat was declaring his commitment to be the protector of Christian sanctuaries within the Palestinian Authority’s jurisdiction. Events in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and elsewhere, however, tell a different story. And though the situation may seem at first glance to be localized and parochial, it is crucial we understand that what happened in Bethlehem casts a critically long shadow over what is transpiring on a vastly larger scale. In fact, it typifies Islamic relations with groups that Islam views as infidels. And when the occupation of the church in Bethlehem is all but forgotten, the larger issues will remain.
For years many Christians have been led to believe that Islam is a benign religion promoting love, peace, and harmony with other faiths. Many who should have known better were convinced that a Muslim-Christian alliance was the pathway to a new, more benevolent brotherhood. This tone surfaced in 1992 when the Anglican bishop of Jerusalem decided to join a world Islamic organization in cosponsoring a conference on the situation of Christians in the country. The bishop’s decision mirrored the sentiments of other mainline Christian leaders in Israel who were increasingly championing not only an alliance with Muslims but also the drive for a Palestinian state. The intervening years have seen this naïve pandering to people of evil intent go up in the smoke of the scattered remains of suicide bombers and their helpless victims.
On the other hand, some politicians were more insightful when it came to the burgeoning threat of radical Islam. Israel’s late prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, had this to say in 1993:
This [radical Islam] is a real and serious danger that threatens world peace in future years. And just as Israel was the first to perceive the Iraqi nuclear threat, so today we stand on the line of fire against the danger of fundamentalist Islam.2
Unfortunately, Islamists had a far more precise view of what a Muslim-Christian alliance would accomplish than Christians did. And while some liberal Christian leaders in Jerusalem, the Middle East, and elsewhere were dreaming of a utopian era of ecumenical harmony, their Muslim counterparts were visualizing Islamic imperialism. Their agenda was clearly articulated for anyone who cared to pay attention to the right Muslim sources. Make no mistake. Islam’s program for Christianity differs little from its plan to liquidate Israel. The only variance is in the degree of violence.
A Muslim booklet, Muslim-Christian Alliance, published in Istanbul, Turkey, makes the case for the necessity of an exploitive alliance between Muslims and Christians:
Moreover, the saying of the Prophet Muhammad further states that in the end of time, true pious, devout Christians will unite with Muslims and put a great fight together against the common threat, Atheism [Jews are viewed by Islam as infidels]. For the time being, true devout Muslims must unite not only with their coreligionists, colleagues and fellow brothers, but with true Christian believers by skipping any dispute, since they have to unite urgently against the common enemy.3
However, the union with Christians must not be understood as a permanent arrangement. There is an Islamic end game for the “true, pious, devout Christian” compatriots:
Eventually, Christianity will be purified and get rid of all superstitions and misbeliefs, and will unite with the true Islamic Religion and will be in a way transformed into Islam, and by adopting guidance to Qur’an the Christian Community will become a follower of Islam and Islam Religion will be the leader position. The true Religion of Islam will gain great power as a result of that unification.4
These words announce, with no attempt at subtlety, the Islamist commitment to the quest for global domination.
When publications of this kind were released, they may have read like the stuff of excessive, theoretical, religious wishful thinking. But with Islam’s increasingly violent campaigns against Israel, Jewish people, and Christians over the last decade in particular, we have come to understand that these words were not merely rhetoric concocted by overzealous Muslim mullahs.
Indeed, when Samuel P. Huntington’s book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order was published in 1997, some critics scoffed at the idea of a cataclysmic confrontation between absolutist Islam and the Western “Christian” democracies. With the advent of Osama bin-Laden; September 11, 2001; the advancing crusade against Israel; and the purging from the Islamic world of any vestiges of Christianity and its people, some intellectual muddy water has become pristinely clear. The lines have been drawn and the battle joined.
Huntington contended the following:
The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic Fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The problem with Islam is not the CIA or the U.S. Department of Defense. It is the West, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world. These are the basic ingredients that fuel conflict between Islam and the West.5
Huntington quoted similar observations from Islamic sources:
“There are unmistakable signs,” argued a leading Egyptian journalist, Mohammed Sid-Ahmed, in 1944, “of a growing clash between the Judeo-Christian Western ethic and the Islamic revival movement, which is now stretching from the Atlantic in the west to China in the east.”6
Furthermore, The Islamic Declaration, published in 1970, argues for the complete “incompatibility of Islam with non-Islamic systems.”
“There can be neither peace nor coexistence between the Islamic religion and non-Islamic social and political institutions.” When the Islamic movement is strong enough it must take power and create an Islamic republic. In this new state, it is particularly important that education and the media “should be in the hands of people whose Islamic moral and intellectual authority is indisputable.”7
What has been done in the Palestinian Authority is a microcosm of what has been identified in the foregoing quotations. The Palestinian educational system has been reduced to systematically brainwashing innocent children to commit acts of unspeakable horror. Palestinian and Arab media have been reduced to spewing the most vicious, anti-Semitic diatribes imaginable. Bethlehem, City of Peace and citadel of Christian devotion, has been turned into a haven for murderers and terrorists. A struggle is being waged in Nazareth to establish Islamic dominance over traditionally Christian sites involving the annunciation of Jesus’ birth.
In Nablus, the traditional tomb of Joseph has been destroyed and converted into a Muslim shrine. The Temple Mount, revered by both Jews and Christians, is now claimed as the exclusive province of Muslims. In recent months, there has been a concerted effort by the Palestinian Waqf (Muslim Authority) to destroy all artifacts testifying to the Jewish people’s ancient presence on the sacred Mount. All of these components confirm that there is only one page in the Islamic game plan, and it calls for total Muslim dominance over the “infidel” Judeo-Christian world, which must be destroyed or subjugated.
These facts are not popular with wishful thinkers. But the evidence is in, and there is no further need for debate or discussion. The history of the conflict already has been written in blood, and we can be sure there will be much more of the same in the near future.
Self-absorbed children of the West will not like to hear what the evidence and the perpetrators say. But the fact remains, this is a fight to the finish. And within the foreseeable future, someone will emerge the winner.
- Arieh O’Sullivan, “A Place Under the Gun,” The International Jerusalem Post, April 19, 2002, pp. 9–11.
- Los Angeles Times, ”Warning to West: Beware of Militant Islamic Radicals,” in The News-Press (Ft. Myers, Fla.), January 3, 1993.
- Bediuzzaman Said Nuri, Muslim-Christian Alliance, Istanbul, Turkey, 1992, p. 13.
- Ibid., pp. 4-5.
- Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1997, pp. 217–218.
- Ibid., p. 213.
- Ibid., p. 269.