As the horror of the invasion of Israel by the terrorist group Hamas continues to unfold, VfJUK is deeply disturbed by the public display of antisemitism increasingly apparent in some sections of the UK and across the world, expressing support for the unprovoked violence, murder and rape of Israeli citizens. And we deplore the partisan and biased pro-Palestinian coverage of the BBC. None of this is, or ever can be, acceptable. We affirm our support for the protection of Jews in this country, and for the defence of Israel against all aggression and attack.
The terrorist group Hamas says that they are seeking to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation from what they claim to be Islamic land. But let us examine this – Islam started in Mecca in 610 AD, after Mohammed proclaimed himself to be the latest and ‘final’ prophet within the Abrahamic tradition, calling for absolute and total submission to what Mohammed said was the one true God, Allah. His claims, however, met with strong opposition in Mecca and he fled to what subsequently became known as Medina, where he confidently expected to find support from the large Jewish community there. He didn’t and, as armed opposition grew, the Jews seemingly became special objects of his hatred, culminating in their violent massacre and expulsion from the oasis in around 624 AD (https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/origin-of-quot-palestine-quot).
Although claimed as a religion of peace, Islam, from its inception, has been founded on conquest, domination, and the requirement of absolute submission. But where does the claim to Jerusalem as Islam’s second most holy place come from? Was Jerusalem early on conquered by Islamic invaders? No, it wasn’t. According to Muslim tradition, the claim stems from Mohammed’s visit to the city in a vision shortly before his death. There, Mohammed said, he was purified in preparation for his meeting with God, and told that Jerusalem would play an important and pivotal role in events leading to the end of the world (https://www.history.com/news/why-jews-and-muslims-both-have-religious-claims-on-jerusalem). It is on this basis that Muslims assert their claim. However, it was not until AD 637 that Muslim armies took control of the city, building the Al Aqsa mosque on Temple Mount in around 670 AD. Jerusalem was subsequently liberated by the Crusaders in 1099, and then once again fell under Islamic control with Saladin’s victory in 1187.
The current ‘state of Israel’ was officially established in 1948. Prior to that, the country had been ruled under British Mandate for Palestine, while before that, from 1517 to 1917, the area had formed part of the Ottoman empire – still with a significant Jewish presence, despite the diaspora, but overall sparsely populated, impoverished and barren (https://echoesandreflections.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/011-02-07_StudentHandout_ABriefHistoryofIsrael.pdf).
The truth is that it was so poor no one, it seems, was very much interested in living there – not at least until the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which announced British support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. In the self-same area – albeit reduced – that God had revealed to Abraham and his descendants as the promised land, given to them as an eternal possession. And indeed, the Jewish presence for over 3,000 years has been overwhelmingly attested by a growing body of archaeological evidence, with fresh finds being uncovered almost daily. So why, one wonders, has this once forgotten and neglected area become such a flashpoint and focus of hatred for Muslim militants? And, now that the Jews have returned to their homeland, why can’t Muslims accept the proposed two state solution and live together in harmony?
There are surely spiritual forces underlying this conflict. From the fall of mankind in Eden, God set aside the Jewish people as His chosen instrument for the redemption of all mankind. The people’s training was long and at times severe, but, throughout, the Ark of the Covenant became the symbol and seat of God’s abiding presence. The temple of Jerusalem, where the Ark was taken to be housed, in turn became filled with His radiance – and the Holy Land overall became regarded as God’s chosen resting place upon Earth. It is for this reason that Jerusalem has, down the centuries, been seen as so special – the one and only seat of God’s invisible presence on Earth. As Scripture attests that God implemented His plan of redemption through the birth of His son in Bethlehem, so it foretells that at the final battle Christ will return once more, in glory, to Jerusalem.
Israel remains to this day a battleground, because it is the one place chosen by God as the seat for His power, where He can implement His plan to save and redeem mankind. The first part of that plan was accomplished by the birth, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Now it only awaits completion with the return of the Lord in glory. To Jerusalem first, and then the rest of the world. Meanwhile the battle continues to rage, as Satan desperately fights, through his minions, to claw back control and frustrate the plan.
That is what we are seeing today in Israel – a full frontal attack by evil on the land chosen by God, in order to try and thwart His purposes of redemption. If nothing else, the unprecedented attack on Israel demonstrates that there can be no compromise with evil. Israel must now defend itself – and we must support her.