As the dust of a political earthquake begins to settle following the seismic Tory victory in the UK election, a clearer picture emerges of the hand of God in it all.
The polls had predicted a close-run result, with the threat of a Corbyn-led government posing serious problems for Britain’s Jewish community in particular.
But the scale of the devastating blow to Labour’s fortunes is somewhat reminiscent of the way the Jews of ancient Persia were saved from annihilation through the intervention of Queen Esther – at the instigation, of course, of her guardian Mordecai.
Haman, one of the king’s ministers, was plotting to destroy the Jewish people and had built a gallows on which to hang Esther’s cousin. But it came back on his own head when news reached the king of Mordecai’s part in thwarting an assassination plot.
In the same way, the Labour Party made a rope with which to hang itself, taking sides against the God of Israel through an effective alliance with Middle Eastern terrorist groups committed to wiping the Jewish state off the map.
In doing so, they suffered a wipe-out at the polls from which they may never recover. They had touched the ‘apple of God’s eye’ (Zech 2.8), which blinded them to virtually all other realities.
Author Giles Udy, writing in the Daily Mail, was particularly struck by the last Labour rally of the election campaign when supporters gathered to cheer Corbyn while, across the road, activists protesting against the party’s handling of anti-Semitism had unravelled a banner saying ‘Never Corbyn’.
But the Corbynites jeered and chanted: ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ – effectively calling for the eradication of Israel.
“Supporters of the Labour Party thus taunted their Jewish fellow citizens and implicitly threatened them with genocide – on British streets,” Udy wrote, adding that it was a harrowing symbol of the depths to which Labour had sunk under Corbyn.
This kind of scenario had been witnessed before, most shockingly during the 2018 Labour Conference in Liverpool where the same chant was heard amid the waving of Palestinian flags.
The party’s political arguments had thus been reduced to chants about ‘Palestine’, demonstrating little concern for real issues either at home or abroad. Ross Clark, in the same paper, wrote: “The Palestinian terrorist group (Hamas) has lost their most high-profile political ally in the Western world…”
So we praise God for this Esther-like rescue due in no small measure to the fervent prayers of many Christians desperate for a turnaround in our political and spiritual fortunes.
Standing with Israel is an important step in the right direction (Gen 12.3, Isa 60.12, Joel 3.2) and Boris Johnson – whose rescue pup Dilyn played a starring role in the election campaign – has made it clear that he is a friend of the Jewish state.
He has also struck a conciliatory note with his opponents, displaying a degree of humility which bodes well for the opportunity of righting past wrongs where Israel is concerned.
Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt made a start by apologising for the way we treated Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust by denying them entry to the Promised Land when Britain held the mandate for the territory.
Boris needs to take this further as we have repeatedly betrayed Israel over the years in exchange for oil and Arab appeasement. And a chance to do something positive on this score is just months away, when the centenary of the San Remo Conference will take place on the Italian Riviera.
The treaty signed there in April 1920 by the allied victors of World War I represents Israel’s ‘earthly deed’ to their ancient land – yes, all the way from the river to the sea! Yet most nations (apart from the U.S.) are still pushing for a ‘two-state solution’ which is nowhere to be found in this key document.
A change of heart – and policy – is urgently required as a right relationship with Israel is essential to a nation’s success. But it doesn’t end there.
Once we’ve re-established that our support for Israel is foundational to a nation built on biblical precepts, we are on the path towards recovering our Judeo-Christian ethos across the whole spectrum of national life.
For in serving the God of Israel, we will surely find ourselves re-connected to the Jewish Messiah, on whose principles our great country was built.
I was encouraged by the election date – the 12th of the 12th – twelve being understood to represent godly government, as in the twelve apostles and the twelve tribes of Israel.
In this respect, Israel is having its own troubles at forming a workable government. They too need our prayers, especially at this time of Hanukkah when they celebrate the second century BC victory over godlessness in defeating the Greek-Syrian emperor Antiochus Epiphanes, who desecrated the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar.
Because, at the Temple’s re-dedication, the menorah burned miraculously for eight days with oil enough for just one, the Hanukkah menorah has nine branches (instead of the usual seven) with the middle (shammas or servant) candle used to light all the others on each day of the festival.
For a growing number of Jews, Jesus is the light of the world who gives light to all who seek him (John 1.9, John 8.12). He is indeed the Servant King who humbled himself as a baby, only to die a cruel death on the cross as a young man, before rising again as the first-fruits of all who believe in him (1 Cor 15.20).
The future of both Britain and Israel is not just dependent on who the people elect to govern them. It is much more about whether or not they decide to serve the living God, who came to dwell (or tabernacle) among us. As friends of ours from Ireland told a Marxist Israeli Jew over breakfast the other day, the only answer to the problems of the Middle East is for Yeshua Ha Mashiach to change people’s hearts!
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; and A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International