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Are the Characters mentioned in the Bible  Rooted in History?  The continuing conflict

Since the dawn of the modern discipline of archaeology, its practitioners have been divided as to the usefulness of the Bible as a source book when searching for ancient locations and validating historic events.

This skepticism mystifies Christian laymen many of whom approach the Bible with an explicit acceptance of the accuracy of the Biblical text and acceptance of its supernatural origin. They are surprised when I advise them that, because a scholar is engaged in Biblical studies, this does not mean that they have any personal religious faith at all. In fact some mainline theological seminaries are populated by teachers some of who have little or no deep faith in God or the Bible. Some even seem to view their goal in life to strip away the faith of their young soon-to-be-pastors theology students which they may view as simplistic and based upon myth. Some become evangelists for unbelief

The Argument From Silence:

Skeptics have attacked the Biblical record using the argument from silence. The fact that for many Biblical characters, there is no mention of them outside of the Biblical record in the findings of archaeology or ancient inscriptions or manuscripts, calls their historicity into question…silence. This fact lends credence to the argument that many of these prominent-in-Scripture people, may not have ever existed

The argument goes that if such people really lived, one would expect to find some trace of them outside of sacred writ……..not silence

But: That argument has been found wanting on numerous occasions as further excavations and discoveries have been made over time, and challenged names eventually documented. As the digging continues we may expect even  more to be affirmed.

It occurs to me that one of the most vivid examples of this, is the New Testament case of Pontius Pilate.

Surely, it was argued, a person who was of such importance and prominence would leave some trace somewhere. An inscription? A mention in a document? A carving on a wall or monument?

Silence reigned for hundreds of years. No extra Biblical mention of this prominent Roman official. Curious!

And then recently  while excavations were underway in Caesarea Maritima, the ancient seaport built  around the time of the birth of Jesus by Herod the Great, a stone was uncovered that bore the name of Pilate. If you were to travel with me to the Holy Land in January 2015 I would take you to see the exact replica of that stone on display in the ruins in  Caesarea today.

The current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review sheds light on this argument from silence.   An  excellent article found there by Lawrence Mykytiuk, begins with

“How many people in the Hebrew Bible have been confirmed archaeologically?

The startling answer is at least 50!”.

In this article he confirms 50 important Biblical names that have been documented in the non Biblical record in some way. Many of the names of Hebrew Kings from both of the sub nations of Judah and Israel post civil war are to be found on his list.

One big one was the question about the historical existence of King David.

Surely Israel’s greatest king would be found mentioned somewhere outside of the Bible?  for almost 3000 years silence reigned. Is it possible that David was a myth created out of whole cloth as many skeptics surmised? Prominent scholars actually labored to make that case.

But then, in 1993,  David’s  name was found in the excavations of Tel Dan, written in Aramaic, found on a stela dating back to the mid ninth century, about 100 years after his Biblically recorded reign over Israel.

In summary, Mykytuik documents the following groups of Old Testament Biblical names as also being found in extra Biblical locations:

  • Five Egyptian pharaohs
  • One King of Moab
  • Nine Kings of the Northern Kingdom  of Israel
  • Fourteen Kings of the Southern Kingdom of Judah
  • Seven Kings of Assyria
  • Five Kings of Babylonia
  • Five Kings of Persia
  • All mentioned in the Biblical record              and elsewhere.

If you wish to pursue this study further you can go to the website  www.biblicalarchaeology.org/50 

This is the plaza at the base of the Western Wall in Jewrusalem

This is the plaza at the base of the Western Wall in Jerusalem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next journey to the Holy Land will depart New York for 10 marvelous days on January 12, 2015 and you can come with us. Pastors and teachers can travel with us with little or no out of pocket cost by inviting as few as 5 people to accompany them on this reasonably priced journey under my personal oversight as the Holy Land Guru. Call me at 386 447 9473

Be sure to download my new book free here     A HOLY LAND ROMANCE      YOURS FREE

Mount of Olives

Mount of Olives

Click here  http://holylandguru.com/ebook-for-you/

Biblical Characters – Holy Land South Paws

THOSE STRANGE BIBLICAL CHARACTERS AND PEOPLE OF THE HOLY BIBLE?

 

The Sea of Galilee to the North of ancient Moab

The Sea of Galilee to the North of ancient Moab

A recent article in Biblical Archaeology Review by 2 distinguished scholars * triggered some  thoughts and brought to mind a story that could have been lifted right out of a tabloid like National Inquirer. It is a story of murder and deceit and international affairs  and Biblical characters  from the book of Numbers (3:12-29) and is about  how God used a south paw to deliver the death blow to one of Israel’s bitter political enemies.  But why a south paw? And was this a common trait?

As recounted in the New Living Translation of the Bible this story reads like today’s newspaper, and why not. People of the Holy Bible were no different at the time of the Judges 3100 years ago than they are today. Same lusts and drives just different toys and devices to act out on those human flaws.

Because of its frequent spiritual lapses, Israel was again under the domination of the king of Moab.  Follow the story line: Ehud, a judge of Israel during the time preceding the establishment of the monarchy under King Saul et al, was selected for a special assassination mission specifically  because he was a south paw. This particular trait gave him a tactical advantage in conflict as few south paws were encountered in battle and their protagonists would seldom be expecting the actions of a left handed opponent.

(Side Note: Think the modern Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the East side of the Jordan River South of the Sea of Galilee. When we go on our Holy Land Tours it is easy to visualize this scene as often we find ourselves on both sides of that border. It is so very interesting because the terrain is the same as it was then. Nothing much has changed. And this is the value of travel to the Holy Land for Bible teachers and pastors and why I continue to offer to take them there on our annual Holy Land Tours)

Jordan River

Jordan River

 Biblical Characters:  South Paws From The One Tribe?

Apparently the south paws all came from one particular tribe of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin. How weird is that? The other player in the list of biblical characters in this drama is Eglon, the King of Moab who was a grossly overweight man with rings of fat amidst his belly. Seems Ehud came across the Jordan River heading East bearing the demanded tribute but with a foot long dagger strapped to his right leg where a lefty would easily reach for it but where those searching him would be least likely to discover it.

The dirty act took place in the air conditioned (Don’t believe me? read the text) upstairs of Eglon’s house/palace with the door locked and with the dagger buried deep in the guts of Eglon and with Ehud making a safe retreat back West across the Jordan to safe territory, while Eglon’s confused servants searched for a key to open the door where they found their fat king dead. The Bible contains a graphic description of his death and body state.

The follow up scene was that of a decisive battle that resulted in the overthrowing of the kingdom of Moab and in 80 years of peace between Israel and Moab. Again I encourage you to read the account in the New Living Translation of the Bible. The designation of a person as being left handed is found in 3 places in the Bible and they are all from the tribe of Benjamin.  In Numbers 20:16 the account speaks of 700 left handed warriors of whom it was said that they could “sling a rock and hit a target within a hairsbreadth without missing”. They were the Special Forces of their day.

Later in 1 Chronicles 12:2 we are told that among David’s supporters, while he was still in Hebron before he took the hill side Jebusite city that became his capital Jerusalem, were a couple of dozen ambidextrous warriors who were not only adept with the sword but also with the sling and  left handed. The article in Biblical Archaeology Review offers interesting additional information as to why left handedness would be more seen in the tribe of Benjamin and not in all 12 tribes. Was it genetics at work? Apparently, they note,  studies of twins indicate that genetics could account for about 25% of the handedness issue. The remaining 75% being environmentally influenced.

Is it possible that the tribe of Benjamin actually encouraged left handedness?  The authors  observe that “The Hebrew term for ‘left hand’ …..literally means to “restricted (itter) in his right hand” and that raises the issue of child abuse.

Question: Did the Benjaminites bind the right arms of their kids in order to encourage this behavior? The name Benjamin actually means “son of my right hand”..

Just another example of why reading the Bible is so true to life and so beneficial to those of us who are living in today’s world. And no I am not advocating crippling your kids by binding their right arms to their bodies. A friend reminded me of an Italian custom of tightly binding an infant so that his feet always face perfectly straight-forward so they would not grow up with splayed feet. Similarly they would strike a child’s wrist with a ruler if they tried to use their left hand so as to discourage left handedness. In fact the Italian word for left is “sinestra” or sinister. Seems little has changed.

It is my intention to address a wide variety of issues related to the Holy Land. We cover the gamut of history, theology, current events, archaeology and the current political tides. As such we welcome and encourage your comments and healthy interchange as we continue to learn together. Consider coming along with us as we go to the Holy Land.

*Dr. Boyd Seevers , prof of Old Testament and Dr. Joanne Klein, associate prof of Biology, both from Northwestern College in St Paul Minnesota.

 

Jerusalem viewed from the Mount of O;lives

Jerusalem viewed from the Mount of Olives

Holy Land June 1967: Enormous Geo-Political Change for the Middle East 

Six weeks after we returned home from the Holy Land in April 1967, the rumblings of war were being heard as Egyptian strong man Gamal Abdel Nasser stirred the pot and tempted a mass simultaneous invasion of Israel by all 3 of its Arab neighbors. In early June the 6 Day War began. With their backs to the wall, the Israelis struck first in the Sinai and wiped out the massive Egyptian military and tank forces that had crossed over the Suez and were on their way to take out Israel.

 

Simultaneously the Syrians attacked from the North through the Golan Heights overlooking the Sea of Galilee where great tank battles occurred between the Israelis and the Syrians. Meanwhile, the Jordanians moved their highly trained forces into Jerusalem from the East. King Hussein was reluctantly drawn into this attack much to his later regret.

 

The Tiny Nation of Israel: Faced with Imminent Destruction & Mass Annihilation

Nobody doubted that if the Arab side prevailed there would be another holocaust. Thirty five years earlier during World War 2, the grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a strong ally of the Nazis and was fully prepared to carry out the “Final Solution” of the Jews in Palestine if Germany had prevailed. Those who hold his view still remain. That was not to be.

Jerusalem view

 

Miraculously, while massively outnumbered, Israel prevailed and defeated the combined Arab armies and, in the process, pushed the borders back dramatically to the Suez canal in the South and the Jordan River to the East and to the backside of the Golan Heights to the North East. It was a stunning turn of events with, many believe, Biblical implications. The “West bank” we hear so much about in today’s news is that portion of land that Israel captured from Jordan in 1967 that is West of the Jordan River.

 

Pressure remains on Israel to give that land back. Not likely to occur. During the years following the 1967 6 Day War, negotiations have proceeded which have seen Israel giving back much of its conquests. There have also been additional conflicts but Israel is now better able to defend itself than at any other time in its short history.

 

It is my intention to address a wide variety of issues related to the Holy Land. We cover the gamut of history, theology, current events, archaeology and the current political tides. As such we welcome and encourage your comments and healthy interchange as we continue to learn together. 

 

 

It was April 1967 when I gathered at New York’s JFK International Airport with my 47 friends. This was to be my first journey abroad.If you have already  been to the Holy Land, you will be able to identify with my feelings on my first journey. I was flying before the plane left the gate in New York.I was actually going to the Holy Land!    Me!      Actually!    Seemed incredible.Our group was quite eclectic in its make up. There were young couples and a few kids but they were mostly older retired people. This is still the profile of most groups.   And most groups today are not as large as was mine. They usually number 12 to 15 and share the services of guides and drivers on a bus

To me the unique experience of being a minority in a majority Muslim world, was quite disturbing at first.

one of the largest mosques in the worold

one of the largest mosques in the world

 It was a rude awakening to learn that the world did not mirror my limited life experience in Southern California. I remember awakening in Beirut Lebanon the first morning to the Muslim call to prayer and finding that so wild  and pagan sounding.

One of our 1967 side trips was impossible this year as we went through the Bekka Valley to Damascus to visit the traditional Street called “Straight” and the largely fictional places that memorialized the story of Paul in the book of Acts.

I remember the huge monolith there, destined to be an obelisk but broken in the process of its removal from the quarry, jutting out of the quarry as a silent memory of when this area was dominated by Rome. So big you could actually drive a car on it.

Beirut was known then as the Switzerland of the Middle East as it was the place the wealthy of the Muslim world went to play and experience the vices they were denied back home in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.It was fortunate that we went there in 1967 because, not too many years later, war would break out between the Maronite Christians and the Syrian backed Muslim fundamentalists and later Hamas. Beirut became a war zone. Hamra Street, with all of its French designer shops, was right in the middle of that conflict and was destroyed in the process.

When we were there, all of the world’s top designers  had their beautiful stores on Hamra Street where they catered to the wealthy of the Arab world. Beirut was then a beautiful city and even had a Las Vegas style casino, Casino du liban, complete with elephants and water falls on stage that out did the Nevada scene by far

One of the marvelous buildings cared out of the rock in Petra

One of the marvelous buildings cared out of the rock in Petra

Going to Petra the first time was a thrilling experience even before I understood its fascinating probable connection with the Apostle Paul and with the development of our Christian theology. (See chapter 19 ).

The Rose red city of Petra

The Rose red city of Petra 

Up there, above our heads, was the tomb of Aaron, brother of Moses.

Petra was on the track followed by the Jews during their 40 year trek through the wilderness.

It was also  from here that the mother of Herod the Great came .

The Idumaeans who built Petra were a gifted people with their city carved out of the red sandstone cliffs described now as one of the wonders of the world.

It took another 30+ years for Hollywood to discover this exotic site and feature it in the epic film, Indiana Jones and Last Crusade.

Not far from Amman, the famous mountain called Nebo towers over the Jordan Valley.It was from this vantage point that Moses viewed the promised land that he was forbidden to enter and it was near here that he was buried in a yet to be discovered tomb. Somewhere below where we stood on Nebo, Uriah the Hittite fell in battle so that David could claim his wife Bathsheba for his own. Down the distant mountain pass to the West, Naomi  and her 2 sons and their wives, traveled in search of food and it was back up that same pass, across the Jordan River  that the 2 now destitute widows returned to Bethlehem, as recorded in the Book of Ruth. As we stood on Mount Nebo we were able to let our eyes sweep the panorama below us as we looked to the left and saw the Dead Sea and the cliffs where the Dead Sea scrolls were found, Qumran, where we would later visit.

Sweeping to the North our gaze took us past ancient Jericho and the mountain of temptation where Jesus is said to have had his encounter with Satan, and, with the Jordan River snaking its path from the Sea of Galilee in the North to its terminus in the Dead Sea, it was all there  at our feet. Awesome!

Further to the North, if we could have seen that far, we would have seen the Sea of Galilee.

Standing there on Nebo we realized the fact that the land promised by God to Israel was located on both sides of the Jordan River. That became more significant later when the border dramatically moved in June of 1967, 6 short weeks after my visit there. We ventured onto the West Bank by crossing the King Hussein bridge over the Jordan River near where John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

You  are beginning to see how close we are to the Bible events? They are everywhere.

Visiting Jericho we looked in vain for the fallen walls and then proceeded up the modern/old Jericho road and were reminded of the story of the good Samaritan. The ruins of an old Turkish fort are found at the mid point and are often mistakenly called the inn of the Good Samaritan.  I learned early on to try to distinguish between the fanciful and the real. A lot of what we were shown as fact just was not so. Our Jerusalem hotel was an Arab hotel called the St George and it was located quite near the Old City of Jerusalem. Next door to the hotel was the shop of Mr. Kando.

He was an interesting character and played an important role in the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Small of stature and always wearing a dirty ankle length robe with a fez hat and always in need of a shave and shower, his main employment was as a shoe repair cobbler. He also dabbled in antiquities and that is how he at one time had the famous Dead Sea Scrolls in his possession. I bought some ancient lamps from him to bring home with me. The famous one eyed  Israeli general Moishe Dyan was a regular customer of Kando in later years.

While in Jordan/Jerusalem we had a fascinating time visiting so many sites of importance to the faith. 

A cave is located under the alter in the church in Bethehem where Jesus was born

A cave is located under the alter in the church in Bethlehem where Jesus was born

We went to the birthplace of the Savior in Bethlehem,  to Mount Moriah with its 4000 year old history at the heart of the Old Testament  sacrificial system and  its connection to one of the 2 possible sites for the crucifixion and resurrection. (See chapter 19.) We visited both traditional places identified as Calvary.

The authentic pools of Siloam and Bethesda central to 2 of Jesus’ miracles, and the 2800 year old tunnel of Hezekiah were on our itinerary.   

the retaining wall of the temple of Herid

the retaining wall of the temple of Herod

A wandering walk through the Old City is an experience unto itself.   And of course the “wailing wall” or western wall of the temple plateau built by Herod the Great at the time of Jesus, looms large in my memory of that first trip.

The high point emotionally for us then and now, was the communion service experienced at the Garden Tomb, one of the 2 locations thought to be where Jesus died and was raised from the dead.

The wine/grape juice is served there in a small carved olive wood cup that is then taken home as a treasure to remember an extraordinary experience and spiritual high.

 

communion service at the garden tomb

communion service at the garden tomb

During the intervening years since 1967 the borders between Israel and her Arab neighbors have changed in remarkable ways.

On the first trip, all of the West Bank of the Jordan River including the Old City of Jerusalem and Bethlehem and Jericho and the Dead Sea, were ruled by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan under the Western oriented King Hussein. His son Abdullah now reigns in his place. Israel’s piece of the pie was tiny and indefensible

There were then and are still, 2 cities of Jerusalem.There is the “Old City” everyone recognizes. But there is also New Jerusalem built by generations of Zionist Jews who have immigrated from Europe over the past 150 years.

In April 1967, the border between Jordan and Israel, and Old and New Jerusalem,  was a “no mans land” strip of dirt that traced along  outside the walls of the Old City and continued to the North.  Across the valley to the West were Israeli snipers who tried to kill the Arab snipers who were shooting at them from behind the walls of the Old City.  Everyone was a target and fair game in this struggle, regardless of which side of “no mans’ land” you stood on. Keep your head down or else..

If you were foolish enough to become exposed to either side you could become dead quickly and so, when touring the Old City then, we were very careful to not stick our heads up anywhere along the Western side of the city.

One of the places where Jesus may have been buried

One of the places where Jesus may have been buried

In early 1967 while the Old City was still in the hands of Jordan, Jews were forbidden to visit what is now Israel’s most sacred location the so called wailing wall or Western Wall of the Temple Mount. Now there is a wide open plaza there that allows you to walk in great numbers right up to the wall. Then that entire area was covered by slummy little houses that crowded right up to the wall itself. I remember threading my way through this tumbledown mess and suddenly abruptly finding myself at the base of the wall looking up. The time of greatest celebration for Israel was when the Jews took the Old City and especially the area of the Western wall. Almost immediately they cleared away the slum dwellings and the result is the wide plaza over the now filled in Tyropean Valley of Jesus’ day.

Israel was so small and virtually indefensible then within the borders defined by the UN mandate and then subsequently  fought over in the 1948 war of Independence.

Israel’s  continued existence as a nation was not all  that certain in 1967

At one point Israel was only about 8 to 10 miles wide between the border with Jordan to the East and the Mediterranean Sea to the West. This narrow portion was in the area of Biblical Samaria.  The Arab world at large has never accepted the existence of the State of Israel and still does not do so. So Israel can never enjoy the luxury of letting its guard down.

In order to enter Israel in April 1967  it was necessary to cross over “no mans’ land”.The entry point to Israel from Jordan was through the remains of a home formerly owned by a Jewish family called Mandelbaum. Their ruined home was in fact the famous so called Mandelbaum Gate. When we crossed over into Israel, leaving our Jordanian bus and driver and guide behind , we personally hauled our baggage across the strip of dirt plaza where it was then  reloaded  onto the awaiting Eged  Israeli bus and  where we met our Jewish Israeli guide and, unexpectedly,  our Christian Arab driver.An  Arab driver for our Israeli bus in Israel?    We did not expect that.             How can this be?

At that time many of the sites of interest to Christians were in Jordan. But there was still much for us to see on the Israeli side including Nazareth, Cana and Megiddo and Caesarea and Capernaum. In traditional Cana I purchased a small bottle of wine (remember that famous wedding Jesus participated in?) that now, some 46 years later, resides yet unopened in my home office.

local wine in the city made famous by Jesus' first miracles

local wine in the city made famous by Jesus’ first miracles

A mystery. This corked and still sealed bottle has seen its fluid level drop about an inch over the past 46 years. How is that possible?     Bottom Line: It is my hope is that this summary from memory of my first journey to the lands of Bible will whet your appetite to share my experience

canawine holylandguru

STRATEGIC SUICIDE

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Since this present US Administration took office it has been abundantly clear that Barack Obama is a prejudiced man .

And that prejudice runs counter to America’s historic commitment that has consistently viewed the State of Israel as a necessary and valued ally in the Middle East.

While understanding that countries do not have “friends”, they mainly have interests, a safe Israel has always been viewed as clearly among our US national interests.

Most American Presidents and Administrations have recognized that fact and have supported Israel, often standing alone in that endeavor in the UN.

But to many in the world, the very existence of the Jewish State is the cause of tension and war and to them, it would be a good thing if the state of Israel no longer existed.
Its demise would remove a constant irritant that has the Arabs so angry and aggressive.

Does Obama believe that?

holy land tour with the Holy Land Guru

Huge Herodion stones placed in the western wall built by Herod the Great at the time of Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Obama’s presumed mind set in this matter is perhaps understandable.

Consider the following: Mr. Obama’s family roots are in the Muslim world and his personal emotional attachment is clearly to Islam, from his father’s influence and from his years living in the Muslim world and from soaking up that culture to the point that the sound of the Islamic call to prayer is, as he admitted, one of “the most beautiful sounds” in the world to him.

If you were to be able to peal back the layers of the onion so to speak, I suspect that this is what you find inside the American President.

That personal sentiment/ pre judging, has been on display since Obama took office beginning with his “apology tour” to the Muslim world, his cow towing to the Saudi leader, his dissing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on several occasions, and his strong reluctance to visit the Jewish State.

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It took until 2012 for him, under political pressure from the largely Democrat American Jewish lobby, to actually go to Israel and see for himself the absurdity of a peace plan that requires strategic suicide on the part of Israel and an eventual guarantee, one day. of the refighting, of the 1967 war all over again.

Fact: The Arab world has never accepted the existence of the State of Israel and is still committed to its extinction either through the so called “right of return” that would open her borders to her Arab neighbors and would result in the Jews becoming an instant minority in their own state, OR, by war, perhaps the largely preferred way.

Now Mr. Obama’s emotional attraction to the Arab side is playing out geo-politically in his commitment to a “Peace Process” designed to force/convince/entice/bribe Israel to return to the early 1967 borders that existed prior to the 6 Day War.
John Kerry, US Secretary of State, is there as I write pursuing that goal.

This American/European pressure on Israel to give up this hard won land has been on display since 1967 and, if implemented, would result in the eventual destruction of the Jewish State and a possible 2nd holocaust.
Consider that carefully.
Not so farfetched.

If you had been there with me on one of my Holy land tours you would understand why this plan will never be implemented.
Israel will never voluntarily give up the “West Bank” as it is known.
To do so, would be strategic suicide.

A brief lesson in geography and in history is in order.

holy land tours

1948 plan to divide Palestine and provide for a Jewish state

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took my first of now 125 holy land tours in 1967, 19 short years after the establishment of the State of Israel and only 6 short weeks prior to the outbreak of the important 6 Day War.

I remember vividly the Middle East as it was then.

The Jewish State came into existence in 1948 as the fulfillment of a plan to provide a safe place, a Jewish State, for survivors of the European holocaust.

In 1948, the area we now call Israel was a state-less area, still administered by Great Britain after the dissolution of the Turkish Ottoman Empire at the end of World War One.

Its national roots were laid earlier when a British politician named Lord Balfour created a formal plan called the Balfour Declaration that declared it was Great Britain’s intention to establish a Jewish state somewhere in the land they then administered that had formerly, prior to World War One, been part of the now long gone Ottoman Empire.

Jews had already lived in that part of the world for thousands of years and had come in large numbers during the previous 150 years to escape the pogroms of Russia and Eastern Europe.
As a result of a wave of Zionist inspired “aliyah” imigrations from Europe, their numbers there 9in this part of the former Ottoman Empire had steadily grown. (For more information see blogs at my website holylandguru,com).

The land allotted to Israel by the UN in 1948 was small and indefensible to the max.

The bulk of the partitioned land went to Jordan and so, Immediately upon the official declaration of the existence of the State of Israel by the UN, war broke out and its now citizens were forced to fight to the death against the numerically stronger Arab side as the “War of Independence” commenced.

Israel’s survival did not gain much hope internationally.

It then seemed inevitable that Israel would be destroyed by its Arab neighbors.

Much to surprise of the world, Israel prevailed, won the conflict, and pushed the borders back thus strengthening their position……. but not by much.

And that was the reality when I first visited both sides of that border on my first of now 125 Holy Land tours.

When I took this 1st holy land tour in 1967, Israel was only about 10 miles wide at one point and the entire West side of the Jordan River, including the Old City of Jerusalem was under the control of Jordan (See www.holylandguru.com for a detailed account of that journey and my observations then)

In 1967, under the prodding of Egyptian strong man Gamal Abdul Nasser,the combined forces of the Arab side simultaneously attacked Israel from 3 sides, shortly after I returned from my first holy land tour.

Again the Jewish State was faced with annihilation and another holocaust.

The huge well trained and equipped Egyptian army with hundreds of tanks, flooded across the Suez Canal into the Sinai from the South, and the disciplined Jordanian army came from the East while the Syrian forces attacked from the North East .

Nothing short of a miracle and remarkable courage prevented a massacre and the end of the small State of Israel.

This lop sided conflict, resulted in a massive victory for the greatly outnumbered Jewish forces.

The decisive defeat by Israel of all of these Arab armies resulted in the borders of Israel being dramatically pushed South all the way to the Suez Canal and to the Jordan River to the East, and to the backside of the Golan Heights to the North East.

By mid June 1967 Israel finally had achieved clearly defined and defensible borders.

At the very same time, international pressure began to be exerted on Israel to give up the land the Arabs had lost during the 6
days of war, and to return to the former pre 1967 borders as though there had not even been a war.

That pressure on Israel continues today and at an increasing rate under the Obama Administration.

The US has great influence in Israel because of the historic financial and military support we have given them over the years.
At the same time we have also poured billions into the Arab side.
Such is the insanity of American foreign policy.

Israel depends upon the support of the US for its existence and so when an American Administration tries to muscle policy that is detrimental to Israel’s survival they are placed in an impossible situation.

They must try to balance their need to defend themselves in the midst of a hostile Arab sea
AND
alienating the only historic supporter they have had, the United States of America.

And so the diplomatic struggle between Israel and the US proceeds with Secretary of State John Kerry wielding both the carrot and the stick and with the Arab world looking on.

The players have all seen this movie before but not with an American President so clearly prejudiced to the Arab side..

One thing Israel understands is that it cannot trust the United States to serve Israel’s interests.
It must in the final analysis, look to its own survival, regardless of what inducements Kerry and Obama may push that serve their own interests.
Clearly there is a conflict of interests afoot here.

drbob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The author, Dr. Robert Grant has frequently been to the Middle East, taking American church groups there, about 125 times over the past 46 years and is a keen observer of the region.
He encourages American pastors to bring members of their congregations with them and to, in the process, be able to have this Bible inspiring journey, at no personal cost to them.
Please go to Faceboook.com/HolyLandGuru where you will find his many original articles written on all things holy land related. Also consider traveling with him in December 2014 or January 2015 when he will be going back to the Holy land again.