Israel, Its Neighbors, and America: Change

Netanyahu in DC Mar 2015There’s a lot of media buzz and political controversy in America just now, due to the arrival in Washington of Benjamin Netanhayu, for speeches to the Jewish lobby AIPAC and the U.S. Congress. This is a key month for Netanyahu, who, when he gets back home, faces the fight of his political life in a significant national election on March 17, to retain the office of Israel’s prime minister. The current junket to DC is part of Netanyahu’s reelection strategy.

Dramatic changes in Israel’s domestic politics play huge roles both in Israel’s relationships with the United States and with its regional neighbors. But basic issues of Israel’s political life may remain mysterious to many outsiders. They should not, given the ramifications of Netanyahu’s time in Washington just now and the up-coming March 17 election.

As I was pondering this today, I ran across two items – a straightforward and informative news story and a think piece – that together combine as a good pair for understanding key background issues, crucial changes that recently took place in Israel’s political life and the new internal polemic that has arisen as a result, and why American Christians need to be aware of this.

From an AP news story by Dan Perry, “Zionism Debate at Heart of Bitter Israeli Vote”:

“The debate over who best reflects the ideals of Zionism – and who can most credibly lay claim to its successes – has lent an oddly philosophical hue to a campaign that had been dominated by more prosaic issues such as budget scandals in the management of the prime minister’s residence. Along the way, the stage appears to have been set for a surprisingly climactic vote on March 17.” Read more here:

From Steven E. Meyer (political science and national security studies), in Capital Commentary, a thoughtful piece on “Israel’s Future”:

“The conflict between Israel and its neighbors in the Levant comes as close to being hopeless as any issue on earth, and leaving it to the international diplomatic process has proven to be a disaster. This issue is one that Christians need to take seriously, not to back one side or the other, or to cling to a misunderstanding of Scripture, but to pursue peace in our day as the Lord commanded in so many parts of Scripture, ‘Blessed are peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God’” (Matthew 5:9). Read more here.

What think ye?

©2015 by Charles Strohmer

Image by AFP Photos/Nicholas Kamm