Ask any Jew – religious or secular – about Israel’s dismemberment 20 centuries ago; it’s a devastating story: As the Romans were hacking and burning their way towards Jerusalem – there to lay siege to the city before destroying it and the Temple – the Jews, having fled from before Titus’s legions to cluster within the walls, were tearing each other to shreds.
In Hebrew they call this irrational internecine rivalry sinat chinam, and they know – every Jew I’ve ever spoken to on the subject – that it helped facilitate their most terrible national tragedy: a genocidal war that, between AD 66 and 135, saw two-thirds of the Jews killed and the remainder driven into captivity; their land lost to them, their capital together with their temple, gone.
The historian Josephus Flavius described this Jew-on-Jew hatred as the nation “like a wild beast grown mad, which, for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh.” (The Jewish War, Book V.)
Is history repeating itself?
The mass public demonstrations against the Netanyahu government have led to numerous warnings that sinat chinam is manifesting again. And the protests are happening as the stark existential dangers to Israel are heightening from every side. Many concerned Israel-aware Christians have expressed a similar anxiety as, week after week, hundreds of thousands of Jews protest in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities.
Warnings are being sounded about dictatorship and a democracy in danger, insurrection and rebellion, anarchy and corruption. Portents are being proclaimed of a civil war, and Rabbis are calling on their followers to pray against one.
A deep breath, in the face of all the clamour and rhetoric, and a level-headed assessment of events, might be helpful. Also, and not least, Believers should not lose sight of what the God of Israel – according to His Word – is about with this nation.
At the beginning of this protest movement, which erupted immediately after the new government took power in late December 2022, (but the groundwork for which was being laid by the previous coalition in the nearly two months after their November 1 election defeat), my thoughts also played worriedly with the possibility that Israel was in danger of civil strife.
In conversation with Jewish friends – both religious and secular – I considered what such conflict had wrought in the past. And, in the light of the Biblical prophecies about Israel’s restoration, I wondered how, just 75 years after its physical reconstitution, and with its growing isolation on the world stage, Israel’s history could be repeating itself.
As I have closely followed the situation, however, it is apparent to me that – while Israel is increasingly surrounded by hostility and hatred – no comparison exists internally between what happened 2,000 years ago, and what is happening today.
Despite the media-driven mania, I do not believe that Israel is on the verge of a civil war.
Whereas in AD 70 Jerusalem, there were three Jewish factions literally slashing each other’s throats, today’s hatred and rebellion comes almost totally from one side.
The contempt and demonisation, the insurrection and incitement to treason – all of it is from the Left; all of it is aimed at the Right.
The restrained, if not silent majority
Amidst the ‘news noise,’ it is important to not lose sight of the fact that, when it comes to Israel’s Jewish voters (more than 7 million of Israel’s 9.6 million citizens are Jews), the right-wing is the biggest bloc. Last November, the Right won 50 percent of the vote against the Left’s 38 percent (12 percent is the Arab vote). These centre-right and right-wing parties – all of them – had judicial reform in their platforms, giving this government an indisputable democratic mandate to make those reforms.
What is evident to any attentive (truth-seeking) news follower is that no matter how hysterical the media is becoming as it “warns” of an imminent civil war (in actuality, it is instigating one), apart from one or two heated reactionary comments from individuals, no violence has emanated from the Right.
To the contrary, while remaining loyal to its voters in progressing with judicial reform, the government has repeatedly invited the opposition to input its concerns – to no avail. Refusing to accept that the voters sent them packing, the beaten Left has mounted a coup.
The mass protestors are all on the Left. No right-wing multitudes – not 300,000, not 50,000, not 500 – have gathered. Were hundreds of thousands, or even tens of thousands of Jews from the Right confronting the protesters, then warnings about civil war might be valid. But it is only the defeated Left that is out there.
[Ed. note: Monday night as Netanyahu made the announcement that the push to reform the judiciary would be postponed we saw the first mass right-wing demonstration, as tens of thousands of the prime minister’s supporters rallied peacefully in favor of the plan outside the Supreme Court.]
All of the vitriol and vituperation has been directed by the Left against the government. None of it is being fired in the opposite direction by government leaders or public figures.
All lines have been crossed
Nor are these demonstrations spontaneous grassroots protests. What is being orchestrated is a strategic and carefully ratcheted up military-style operation, led by bellicose, trounced and failed leftist leaders Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz, Ehud Barak and, that ex-con, Ehud Olmert. And it is being bankrolled – reportedly to the tune of $10 million a week – and advocated from abroad by progressive political groups with support from leaders hostile to Israel’s Zionist and religious coalition.
The Lapid-Gantz-Barak triumvirate, given illegitimate cover by radical left-wing jurists like Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, have encouraged the employment of illegal and ugly acts, like threatening assassinations, terrorising coalition MKs and their families (including Netanyahu’s wife), blocking highways, disrupting synagogues, vandalising offices, jumping on desks in the Knesset, marching on ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods and blockading Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport, while calling on other nations and Diaspora Jews to interfere.
All lines have been crossed by those raging and threatening a fight. That they are going so far is clearly the measure of the Enemy’s fierce determination to “get” this nation for his kingdom and prevent THE Kingdom from being restored to her.
Manifestation of Zechariah’s prophecy?
This, then, is the first thing to grasp. It’s a one-sided war against the Right. It is not sinat chinam.
Where there is a comparison to be made with the past is in regard to the gathering of forces around Jerusalem – not yet physically/militarily, but insofar as Jerusalem is the capital and seat of government of the Jewish state against which Washington, London, Paris, Bonn and all the others are ranged.
Today we have, in a very real way, a possible manifestation of what Zechariah saw coming to pass (12:3, 9 and 14:12).
And the following: there is a strong sense – running as an undercurrent in the Hebrew-language Israeli media – that something imminent is to happen regarding Iran. We are, potentially, on a hair-trigger for a massive clash. The type and amount of weaponry Iran has poised to launch against Israel, whether by its own military or via Lebanon’s Hizb’Allah, poses an extreme threat.
Fuelling speculation – and some concern – is the fact that Netanyahu keeps leaving the country despite what the media insists on calling a national crisis. In the past two weeks he has flown to Italy, Germany and London. He is speaking to powerful Western leaders – at least to those who will have him.
Notwithstanding a hostile President Joe Biden’s refusal to invite the Israeli to Washington, senior US figures in early March visited the region, including the US Secretary of Defence, who held meetings in Israel, Egypt and Jordan, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who visited Israel, Syria and Morocco.
There have also been noticeable displays of US-Israel military cooperation – a massive combined military exercise in January, a Red-Flag IDF-USAF exercise and an IDF fighter jet escort of a US nuclear-capable B-52 bomber in the direction of the Gulf on March 12.
I am not at all ‘prophesying’ that there is going to be a war; but I am wondering what God might permit to happen from without to impact the situation within.
What I am sure about is this. Israel has not been regathered to be destroyed, neither from without – whether by an Iranian nuclear weapon or an American-led diplomatic assault dressed up as Land-for-Peace – nor from within, by Jews spiritually assimilated with the progressive or socialist Gentile worlds.
Again, that the battle is so intense reveals the extent to which the Enemy is prepared to go to “get” this nation for his kingdom and prevent God’s Kingdom from being restored to her.
Which makes these my prayers:
“Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the gentiles should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:17)
“O Lord God, do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of [the nations] with a mighty hand. Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look on the stubbornness of this people, or on their wickedness or their sin, lest the land from which You brought [them] should say, ‘Because the Lord was not able to [keep them in] the land which He promised them, and because He hated them, He has brought them out to kill them..’ Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out by Your mighty power and by Your outstretched arm.’” (Modifications mine; based on Deuteronomy 9:26-29).
“O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.” (Daniel 9:19)
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.