About a week ago, I stated in Facebook that I hope Canada's Prime Minister Harper will win the current election because I'm so pleased with his stand for Israel. He's taken a lot of heat for that statement and Canada was not offered a seat at the UN Security Council because of it. Nevertheless, as long as he is prime minister, he says Canada will support Israel.
Someone commented, "Debbie how can you as a compassionate christian support Israel?" I started writing my answer to him in a Facebook message but decided that because of its length, I would post it here instead. I am not a scholar and I do not read scholarly books. What I've written below is completely from memory and, given my age and the state of my mind lately, will likely include some faulty information. Nevertheless, this is why I support Israel:
I have spent my adult life reading about the state of Israel and her history. In the past week I have read two new (to me) books that also shed light on the subject but there are tons of them.
Historically, the problem began at the beginning of the 20th century when Britain, who had political control of much of the Middle East and certainly the land that is now Israel, promised both the Palestinians and the Jews a homeland on the same stretch of land. At the time, the land was not densely populated at all, Jews and Palestinians were neighbours who got along well with each other. They were friends. The land didn't seem all that valuable in terms of agriculture because it was too dry. It was a couple of immigrant Jews before World War II who figured out a way to irrigate the land and began developing orange groves. Nobody had believed it could be done and the Palestinians/Arabs who lived on the land chiefly used it for herds of sheep and goats with seemingly no interest in being innovative.
The history of the Jews in the 20th century but even long before, has been one of constant threat of annihilation. Hitler used a deep-seated distrust of the Jews to convince Germany, Austria and other countries that the Jews were their enemies and should be obliterated. Some believed him; some were afraid to speak against the new policies toward Jews; some supported the Jews secretly, such as providing false documents or hiding Jews from the Gestapo and others were very forward and loud about their hatred for what Hitler was doing.
Hitler's approach to dealing with the Jews was a somewhat gradual one. It wasn't that one day the Jews were doing business with the non-Jews and the next day they were being taken to the gas chambers. Rather, it started out slowly--the Jews were frowned upon, then they had to wear a yellow star of David at all times, non-Jews were told not to shop at Jewish stores and eventually the stores owned by Jews were either vandalised and looted or taken over by non-Jews. There was one night, called Kristalnacht (or night of the glass), when the non-Jewish citizens of Germany and Austria went on a rampage and anything Jewish was destroyed.
During this time, Hitler was gobbling up countries that the allied countries who fought in World War I had promised to protect. Prime Minister Cunningham of Britain was a peace-loving man and was convinced that Hitler could be dealt with through negotiations--except that Hitler didn't give an inch. He swallowed up Austria, the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia and the edges of France with seeming impunity. It wasn't until he invaded Poland that finally Britain declared war (and with Britain, Canada). On the eve of his invasion of Poland, Hitler declared that since the Turks had gotten away with annihilating the Armenians from their homeland less than 20 years before, he too would be unchallenged as he began to slaughter the Jews.
The Armenians lived in an area called Anatolia in what is now known as Turkey. They proudly trace their ancestry back to Noah; and Mount Ararat, where the Bible says Noah's ark came to rest, is indeed within Anatolia. The Armenians were the first nation to declare itself Christian--before Rome did. They lived peacefully until Turks from Central Asia invaded their land around 1000. From that time on, the Turks, who were Muslim, did all they could to make their lives miserable. It was in the first quarter of the 20th century that the Turks systematically destroyed the Armenian people. Only 10% of the people survived, but they couldn't stay in their homeland and were given land that excluded Mt. Ararat--a great blow to their national pride.
The Turks made Hitler look like a gentle man. They were brutal in the way they tortured the Armenians before they killed them--such as flagellating the soles of men's feet till they were raw and them making the men walk miles. Women and children were taken on long treks through the desert, supposedly to relocate them elsewhere but it was a way to kill them. They were not provided water and when they tried to drink the horses' urine, they were beaten or shot. Many were forced over the edges of cliffs. Children were sold as slaves to Muslim families, women were stripped naked and hung on crosses. Hitler's gas chambers were much more humane (though still dreadful).
For so many centuries, the Jews lived without a homeland and thus lived at the mercy of the officials of whatever country they were in. They have been treated despicably ever since Titus captured Jerusalem in 70 AD for Rome; their temple was completely destroyed and the hundreds or thousands of people who sought refuge in the temple were killed by the fire used to destroy the temple.
Now with Hitler's commanded treatment of the Jews, sending them to gas chambers or to labour camps where they were underfed and overworked with a deliberate eye to killing them off, the Jews had no place to go. No one, not a single nation in the world, would accept a mass migration of Jews from Europe, including Canada and the United States. Some Jews had bought a ship and crammed it full of people wanting to escape. It stopped at port after port, including Halifax, only to be turned away. Where could they go?
Throughout the centuries, the Jews had a farewell to each other that went something like, "Next year in Jerusalem." Jerusalem was their home, the capital of their homeland. King David of the Old Testament was the one who made Jerusalem the capital city of Israel. Before that, God had promised Abraham that he would give the land to his descendants. He repeated that promise to Abraham's son Isaac, his grandson Jacob (also named Israel) and then to Moses who led Jacob's descendants out of Egypt where they had been slaves to the land that God had promised. Under the leadership of Joshua, most of the land was conquered and the nation of Israel was established.
The kingdom was divided into two nations after Solomon's heir, Rehoboam, refused to meet the demands of the people. He kept the smaller part which became the nation of Judah (from which the word "Jew" is derived) and his rival, Jeroboam, took the more substantial amount which became known as Israel. Many generations later, because Israel, the northern nation, had totally walked away from God, God sent the Assyrians to take over the land and exile the people to other countries under the Assyrians' control. In their place, people from other countries were brought into Israel to live in the land. The Israelites were never repatriated to their homeland. Quite a few generations later, Babylon invaded the southern nation, Judah, and exiled most of the people to Babylon (current Iraq) and Persia (now Iran). A small group was allowed to stay in the land and 70 years after the exile, the Jews were given permission (and money) to return to Judah (and Jerusalem) and rebuild their nation, including the temple. They were there during the Persian, Greek and Roman empires, until Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and they scattered around the world, including Europe. But they always longed to return home to Jerusalem.
When the European Jews during the time of Hitler realised their lives and race were marked for destruction and that there was no place of safety, the passion to recreate their own country intensified. The British were still in charge of Palestine and did all they could to prevent Jews from coming into the land but the drive to finally have their own homeland where they could be safe was so strong that they did everything possible to circumvent them. Eventually, the land of Israel was established and recognised by the United Nations.
Their troubles did not end. The Quran and Islamic theology have, as an integral part, the charge to destroy the infidels--basically anyone who is not a Muslim. I used to think that the West exaggerated this idea and that it is held only by a handful of extremists from which the terrorists come. I was wrong.
One of the books I read recently is called Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef. As you know, the Hamas is a Palestinian group that has, for the most part, taken over leadership of the Palestinians in West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Mosab is the son of one of the founders of Hamas. His book corroborates what I've read from countless books that are sympathetic to Israel and the Jews.
Mosab Hassan Yousef starts out talking about his home life. He had an exceptionally gentle father, much different from the stereotypical Muslim men, who helped his wife in the kitchen, in putting the kids to bed and even washing his own socks out at night. When the Hamas was formed, it was not intended to be political but simply a way to encourage Muslims to return to their Islamic roots--to read and memorise the Quran and live according to its principles. Obviously this changed.
Mosab, as a teenage boy, idolised those Muslims who were standing up to their Jewish oppressors (as they saw them). He wasn't part of Hamas but as his father's son he did have privileged information and high standing amongst the other Muslims in the West Bank. When a friend said he wanted a gun, Mosab made connections to obtain two guns. When the two boys went to try them out, they didn't work. However, Israeli patrols somehow found out about the gun purchase and arrested Mosab. And yes, they were brutal in their torture of Mosab and others, at least at the beginning. When he was approached by the Israelis to become a spy for them, he agreed because he saw it as the perfect opportunity to kill Israelis in high places.
The torture ended and he was sent to another prison. In that place, the various Muslim factions had control over those prisoners who had links to them. What Mosab witnessed was horrifying to him. Far worse than any torture the Israeli's had done to him. What they had done was mild compared to what the Hamas did to their own people in prison. There was no logic as to who was chosen but the chosen's screams could be heard throughout the prison camp. He was shaken to realise his people could be so cruel to each other.
When he was released, the Israeli intelligence, Shin Bet, didn't call him right away and when they finally did, they didn't seem to have any work for him to do. They would chat over cookies and tea. He was amazed at their kindness to them. And yes, the cynic would say that of course they were nice to him--they wanted something from him--but it still amazed him. They sent him to university and paid for it, still not giving him work to do.
Meanwhile, he witnessed his "gentle" father give approval to the beheading of a man whose offense was very small. One sudden sweep of a sword and the man's head was rolling. Mosab was aghast and, with that on top of what he had witnessed the Hamas doing in prison, realised he wanted nothing to do with Hamas or even Islam. He eventually became a Christian.
Mosab Hassan Yousef and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the author of the next book I read, Nomad, confirm that the destruction of all Jews is part of the Quran and the highest step on the ladder of spiritual good works. Muslims, whether they are Palestinian, Syrian, Somalian, Arabian or Iranian, have one goal and that is to annihilate every Jew in Israel (and beyond). Here is another source of that information, also a former Muslim.
Iran has made it clear that not only Israel is targeted for extinction, but also America. According to Islamic end-time theology, the Twelfth Imam (the Muslim messiah) is due to arrive at any time. However, tied to his appearing is the destruction of the Little Satan (Israel) and the Big Satan (the US). One branch of this theology (that held by the leaders of Iran) believes that the Twelfth Imam cannot come until these two nations are obliterated and so, to hurry his arrival, they must pave the way. One person who is sounding the alarm about this is political strategist, philanthropist and novelist Joel C. Rosenberg, a Christian version of Tom Clancy with some impressive credentials and whose novels have uncannily come true.
While you may argue that Christian and Jewish sources are biased, I offer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Nomad. She's an atheist, grew up as a Somali Muslim who lived in a variety of Muslim countries (and whose father and grandfather were political leaders) and for the past many years has had to live with security personal 24/7 because her life is at risk as a result of her outspokenness against Islam. She too talks about the Islamic goal to eradicate all Jews.
Given the attitude of its neighbours, Israel has no choice but do what it can to defend itself. According to Son of Hamas, Yassar Arafat was offered by Israel pretty much all that the Palestinians were asking for and refused it. Or maybe he was going to accept and the Hamas refused to agree to it. What Mosab observed was that it was more important to the Palestinian leaders to keep the conflict going than to truly provide peace and stability for their people. He found this outrageous and it was one of the factors that lead to his disillusionment of and departure from Islam.
How can such a tiny nation as Israel maintain her safety when she lives amongst a sea of nations that are just waiting for the right time to wipe her off the face of the map? How can we in the West stand by idly and allow Islam to finish off what Hitler started? To me that is abhorrent. We did nothing to protect the Jews during the Holocaust. If we do nothing now, then what are we? We must support Israel and the right of her and her people to exist. To do anything else is unthinkable.
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