Israeli leaders get biblical in setting peace policies

Friday, January 04, 2013 |  Ryan Jones

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres both invoked the Bible over the past week when speaking about Israel's aspirations for and policies toward peace in the region.

In an address to Christian leaders on the even of the new year, Peres stated that Israel is scripturally obligated in both the Old Testament and the New Testament to seek peace.

Peres said Israel has sought peace, and that now it is up to her enemies to decide if they want to move forward, or continue fighting.

Netanyahu suggested that he already knew the answer to that riddle, and himself cited the book of Exodus as reason not to rush into an ill-fated peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu was hosting the revived prime minister's Bible Circle, first started by David Ben-Gurion, when he referred to the weekly Torah reading from the first chapter of Exodus as evidence that things in this region never change.

The first chapter of Exodus recalls the establishment of a new power in Egypt that "did not know Joseph" and subsequently mistreated the children of Israel.

"Just as it was then, so it is today," noted Netanyahu. "In Egypt, the regime has been replaced, in Syria the regime is falling, and this could also happen in the Palestinian Authority. Everyone knows that Hamas could take over the Palestinian Authority. It could happen after an agreement, it could happen before an agreement, like it happened in Gaza."

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