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Remember the Bible

Remember the Bible

It is time to stop being afraid of mentioning the Jewish people's biblical right to the Land of Israel.


(June 26) - It seems almost axiomatic that regardless of whether the current cease-fire takes hold, the propaganda war between Israel and the Palestinians will continue. Even if the Bush administration succeeds in silencing the guns on the ground, the battle for public opinion will endure on our television screens, with each side trying to paint the other as the primary culprit.

As in any conflict, Israel's defenders will have to consider the tools at their disposal and use them as wisely and judiciously as possible. It is, therefore, perhaps time for advocates of Israel to reconsider an unfortunate taboo that has taken hold in recent years, one that has weakened Israel's position and requires a thorough reassessment: "Thou shalt not mention in public the biblical right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel."

Afraid of turning off various audiences, those entrusted with explaining Israel's position focus their energies entirely on the diplomatic, military and security realms. They spell out why Israel is a bulwark against militant Islamic fundamentalism and explain the need for the West to support the only democracy in the Middle East. They rightfully point out that that the responsibility for the outbreak of the current unrest lies squarely on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's shoulders.

These points are important, and they need to be reinforced as much as possible. But at the same time, Israel is making a grave tactical error by failing to address the underlying question behind the Israeli-Palestinian dispute: Whose land is it anyway?

By turning down the previous government's unprecedented proposals, Arafat made it clear that, in his view, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about boundaries and normalization, but about "us or them." It is a struggle between two entities, the Jews and the Arabs, over one piece of territory, the Land of Israel, and it behooves Israel's defenders and supporters to begin focusing on this point.

"The Mandate is not our Bible - the Bible is our mandate." - David Ben-Gurion

That is where the Bible comes into play. Years ago, Israeli leaders, whether religious or secular, would not hesitate to cite the Bible as the source for the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel. In 1937, when David Ben-Gurion appeared before the British Peel Commission, established to investigate the situation in the British-controlled Mandate for Palestine, he vigorously defended the Jewish people's right to the Land of Israel, asserting that "The Mandate is not our Bible - the Bible is our mandate." When was the last time you heard an Israeli official speak so forcefully and, pray tell, so biblically? Opponents of using t

his argument assert that it would be counter-productive, because not everyone believes in the Bible. Ostensibly, they would seem to have a point, because mention of the Bible can lead some listeners to shift uncomfortably in their seats, worried they are about to hear a mid-week sermon.

But, as any good salesman will tell you, effective public relations requires a person to tailor his message to suit the audience that he is addressing. There are tens of millions of Jews and Christians across the globe who do believe in the Bible and view it as the Divine instruction manual for the world. By ignoring the Bible entirely, Israel's supporters are abandoning one of their most powerful and effective arguments, one that much of the Western world believes in and accepts.

The 20th century is replete with examples of the powerful impact that the Bible has had on Western public opinion. Writing about the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which the British government reaffirmed the right of the Jewish people to a homeland in Palestine, historian David Fromkin has noted, "Lloyd George [Britain's Prime Minister] wanted his country to carry out what he regarded as the Lord's work in the region? Biblical prophecy was the first and most enduring of the many motives that led Britons to want to restore the Jews to Zion" (A Peace to End All Peace, pp. 274, 298).

American presidents throughout the 20th century have similarly been moved, or at least influenced, by the Bible's vision. Indeed, it has become standard fare in the United States for a president to finish his speeches with the solemn intonation, "God bless you and God bless America." Democrat or Republican, the leaders of the free world have not been ashamed to invoke the Divine when addressing the public. Why, then, should we?

Israel's defenders must stop being embarrassed by the Bible, and start using it to make Israel's case. Military and political arguments must also be made, but in the final analysis, much of the Western world looks to the Bible as its guide.

The time has come for us to do the same. The Jewish people need to state, with unhesitating pride, in a voice that is both loud and clear, that the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel because the God of Israel said so.

With thanks to the Jerusalem Post

June 30, 2001

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Visitor Comments: 20

(20) Mary Kabus, April 13, 2002 12:00 AM

One-sided news.

Articles like these should be translated into other languages and published in various newspapers. Netanjahu's speech at the US Senate,too!Their are many Christians around the world who are supporting Israel through prayer, money and, a few at least, are still visiting Israel- don't generally be against Christians! Am an American, living in Germany and going to a demonstration f o r Israel in Berlin today (April 13th).

(19) Anonymous, September 14, 2001 12:00 AM

I disagree

A much stronger case can be made to both religious and secular people by correcting falsehoods about Jewish continuous habitation of the land. We are THE indigenous people of that region, we have historical records to prove it, all the way from the Tanakh (in whatever sense it is considered a hitorical accounting) to the present day. Every group that invaded the land mentioned in their chronicles the Jews who happened to be living there at the time.

Using a purely Biblical argument leaves intact the charge that we "left after the Temple was destroyed and then came back 2000 years later, dispossessing the "real" (not biblical) inhabitants."

The Pals know this. Why do you think the WAQF is busy destroying Temple Mount artifacts?

(18) Anonymous, August 22, 2001 12:00 AM

Israel need to be tough on enemies.

Israel has a covenant right to the land they now posess (even more than they posess) but they need to stop being influenced but outsiders. It is WAR against Israel and no politician can solve it through talking and land give aways. Remember Israel doesn't have a right to give away what Almighty God gave them. Israel be tough as your history shows you the sucess. Even though most of your people are secular I trust they know from whence the land was given to the Jewish people. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel.

(17) Alyza S., July 25, 2001 12:00 AM

Not Naive

In response to "Naive thinking", please note that there are Muslims who read the Qur'an in a benevolent way and who believe that G-d in the Qur'an gave the land to the Jews. Granted, these Muslims are not in the middle east, but they do exist and have spoken out. Too bad their voice is not heard over the din of those who hate Israel and want to kill us (the Jews) all.

(16) Jim Raredon, July 8, 2001 12:00 AM

Israel has the right to its land

I am another Chrisitan from America who believes Israel has full rights to its land. Furthermore, the Palestinian Terrorists should realize that they are actually displaced Syrians, not "Palestinans" My hopes and prayers are with you Israel!!

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