Threats to Israel


The history of the Jewish people is a story of survival against incredible odds.  Today, the nation of Israel (where the majority of Jews now live) is a prosperous nation with more than 7 million citizens.  However, Israel’s survival, on a natural level, remains fragile for a number of reasons not least because Satan does everything in his power to deny Israel her birthright and, in so doing, delay his own inevitable downfall.

We know the end of the story from the prophetic scriptures and so we’re aware that Israel will face incredible challenges before she comes into her full destiny.  It’s important to understand these challenges if we’re to stand with Israel in the context of growing anti-Semitism and persecution and to pray effectively on her behalf.

The church also has a vested interest in Israel’s survival since Israel needs to be in the land when Jesus returns to satisfy numerous prophecies.  A number of threats are listed below (in no particular order of priority or importance).  Some of the threats are obvious, others more obscure and indirect.  They cover spiritual, physical and political threats.

1    The rise of anti-Semitism

Let’s start with the spiritual and look first at the threat posed by anti-Semitism.  There’s a hostility towards God’s chosen people that seems latent in fallen human nature and without question there’s a rising tide of anti-Semitism worldwide.  In just 60 years since the Holocaust, the world has replaced sympathy and support for the Jews with prejudice and hostility.

The spirit of anti-Semitism has been around since God first chose Abraham.  It’s from the pit of hell and is a cancer that ultimately not only harms Jewish people, but destroys the perpetrator since God says, ‘I will curse those who curse you’ (Genesis 12:3).

2    Church

Staying with the spiritual theme, let’s look secondly at the continued threat posed by the church which manifests itself in at least three different ways:

i    Firstly, the indirect threat caused by well meaning but misguided friends of Israel who support Israel ‘religiously’ come what may.  Their love for Israel, which began with the best of intentions, has been perverted and has become idolatrous.  It is as though they now love Israel more than they love the truth.

In their eyes Israel can do no wrong and they defend at times the indefensible.  If the enemy can’t stop us supporting Israel, the next best thing is to get us to become extreme, whereby we worship them.  The sins of idolatry and witchcraft go hand in hand (2 Kings 9:22), and a religious spirit is the almost inevitable result.

The problem with this is that many Christians, who might otherwise support Israel, see the unreality and religious spirit and are put off.  I believe this is a warning to all of us who carry Israel in our hearts – we must guard against religiosity otherwise it will spoil our testimony.

ii    The second source of threat from the church emanates from those who promote Replacement and Fulfilment theology, claiming that God no longer has a special relationship with Israel or the land.  These doctrines continue to cause offence to the Jewish people and impact our ability to relate to them in meaningful ways.

iii    Thirdly, those in the church who have become affected by a spirit of anti-Semitism.  Luther and Calvin were both anti-Semitic.  The spirit of anti-Semitism is well hidden and generally only surfaces when provoked by support for Israel.  It often manifests itself in irrational and discriminatory support for causes associated with Palestinians, Muslims or Arab Christians.  Christians have even been known to argue the case for Islam as a religion over and above Judaism.

3    Demographics

The third threat facing Israel relates to population make-up, growth and possible trends resulting from it.  This is known as demographics.  The total population of Israel and the West Bank (forgetting Gaza) is 9.3 million of which 5.3 million are Jewish i.e. 57% - the rest are Palestinian.  The Muslim birth rate is double that of the Jews and if things continue at this rate, by 2020 the Jews will constitute only 47% of the population.  In a democracy where everyone has the right to vote, Israel would become a Muslim state known by some other name.

There are about 10 million Jews living outside of Israel and a large number would have to emigrate to Israel to make any real difference.  At present three quarters of these live in the US from which very few emigrate.  Incidentally, there are now more Muslims in the US, thanks mainly to the Iranian catastrophe created by an anti-Semitic President Jimmy Carter, than there are Jews.

Israel could decide to deny the Palestinians the right to vote, but Israel would then cease to be a democracy and attract even more criticism worldwide.  Muslims talk of the woman’s womb as a weapon in their battle to destroy Israel.  This is what Colonel Gaddafi meant when he spoke of an Islamic takeover of Europe without a shot being fired.  If Turkey ever enters the European Union, this process would significantly advance.

4    Lack of water

The fourth threat Israel faces is a lack of drinking water.  The patriarchs had this same problem and it is why conflict surrounding the digging and ownership of wells is often mentioned in the scriptures.  It continues to be a cause of conflict today between Israel, the Palestinians and surrounding Arab states.

Israel has suffered from a chronic water shortage on and off for years, and today Israel's demand for water outstrips its available resources even in a year of average rainfall.  This is why Israel has to rely for about 20% of its supply on unconventional water resources, including reclaimed water and seawater desalination.

Israel has no great rivers and depends on three main sources - Lake Kinneret (better known as the Sea of Galilee), the Coastal Aquifer (an underground water supply) which includes Gaza, and the Mountain Aquifer part of which straddles the West Bank.  The aquifer in the Gaza strip, under the control of the PA, has become unusable due to contamination and salinity.

Desalination of seawater looks the best option long term to supplement Israel’s water supply, but unfortunately it’s expensive and won’t supply all her needs in the short and medium term.  Desalination plants are also good targets for terrorists!

5    Media, UN and governmental bias

The fifth threat Israel faces results from bias, unfairness and discrimination by large sections of the media, the United Nations and governments generally.  This is often fuelled by left wing liberal politics and anti-Semitism.  We've listed the following three institutions as just representative of many others that could also have been included:

i    The media is a law unto itself and highly influential.  Unfortunately, when it communicates misinformation, disinformation and out-and-out lies and repeats them often enough, they can become ‘undisputed fact’ to the uninformed.  The BBC for example has a strong pro-Palestinian bias in its reporting of the Middle East.

ii    Governments are motivated by self and national interest, not things like truth, justice and morality and we're afraid being friends with Israel makes you an enemy of Islam.  Islam has oil which the world needs, whilst Israel doesn't.  Islam also threatens, intimidates and resorts to violence.

iii    A new breed of anti-Semites can be found sitting on committees in the United Nations.  Twenty UN committees are dedicated to Palestinian issues.  The Arabs have learned to avoid the US veto by taking their issues direct to the General Assembly where almost any anti-Israel resolution is guaranteed to meet with approval.

6    Internal conflict

The sixth threat Israel faces is from internal conflict – different factions within Israel pulling against each other.  Jewish immigrants emigrated to Israel for different reasons – some were motivated by the need for security, others for economic or religious reasons.

The state of Israel today is thoroughly secular and this is how secular Jews (the dominant group) want it to stay, with a complete separation between religion and state.  Secular Jews also embrace Westernisation.

The religious group on the other hand see moral decay all around and would like to see the state governed by Jewish law.  Some even propose rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem which is probably the motivation behind the ultra-Orthodox buying up property there.  They view the West as an evil influence and many on the right would like all Palestinians expelled from Israel.

The Arab citizens of Israel have equal rights under the law, but are exempt from military service.  They’re generally not proud of their Israeli citizenship but recognise that they have a higher standard of living than they would if they lived in an Arab region.  There is growing alienation between them and Israeli Jews and some have assisted Palestinians in terrorist activities.

7    Nuclear threat

The seventh threat is the nuclear threat - the one we most hear and read about.  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former political leader of Iran, who denied the Holocaust ever took place, vowed to wipe Israel and the US off the map.  The Iranian government is probably the most anti-Semitic in the world and Ahmadinejad believed that he could hasten the end of the age in accordance with Islamic eschatology through a process of nuclear war.   Ahmadinejad's successor, Hassan Rouhani, is thought to be more moderate, but Iran is still determined to develop her own nuclear weapons despite the UN sanctions put in place recently.   If Iran obtains nuclear weapons there’s little reason to believe that they would not use them.

A pre-emptive strike by Israel or the US on Iran’s nuclear development sites is always a possibility and could even have support from Saudi Arabia.  Egypt and Saudi Arabia are as concerned about Iran getting the nuclear option as Israel is.  Should Israel or the US attack Iran, the Saudis, even if they had assisted them, would obviously condemn them to save face with the Muslim world and to cover their involvement.

8    Radical Islam

The eighth threat to Israel is from radical Islam.  The following information on Islam is mostly gleaned from ‘Islam and the Jews’ by Mark A Gabriel.  Whilst not unique to Israel, nevertheless radical Islam seems to reserve its most irrational and bitter hatred for her.  A major difficulty for Israel is that very few people, including Western governments, understand the true nature of radical Islam or pretend not to do so, on account of oil.  The majority of Christians and church leaders don’t understand it either, which can result in them judging Israel harshly.

The radical Islamic propaganda machine deliberately misrepresents the real nature of Islam in order to further its agenda of global domination.  According to some radical Islamic scholars only Islamic fundamentalists practise Islam as Muhammad did.

In the year 610AD Muhammad claimed to have met with the angel Gabriel in a cave, who told him that he was to be the final prophet of God.  Whilst in Mecca he gained a few converts and was tolerant of Christians and Jews, whom he hoped to convert.  The revelations he received during this period were therefore basically tolerant of other religious groups.  These passages of the Quran are the ones quoted when a claim is being made that Islam is a peace-loving religion.

Eventually however, this little group met with persecution and they had to flee to Medina.  Whilst in Medina, Muhammad and his message were rejected by the Jews.  His revelations then became more anti-Jewish.   Eventually Muhammad declared war on any who would not convert.  There is a rule in Islam called Abrogation whereby the later revelations in the Quran supersede the earlier ones.

Israel's friends advise her to trust Islam, an enemy committed to her annihilation.  She is told to give up land for peace which goes against the clear commands of the Jewish scriptures.  She is without doubt caught between a rock and a hard place.  Only the Lord can defend Israel and provide her with strong visionary leadership:

If the Lord had not been on our side - let Israel say - if the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us, when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away.  Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth.  We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler's snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.  Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 124).

Recommended reading

Will Israel Survive?: Mitchell G Bard (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

The Case for Israel: Alan Dershowitz (John Wiley & Sons, 2003)

Islam and the Jews: Mark A Gabriel (Front Line, 2003)

The history of the Jewish people is a story of survival against incredible odds . . . Israel’s survival, on a natural level, remains fragile for a number of reasons not least because Satan does everything in his power to deny Israel her birthright and, in so doing, delay his own inevitable downfall

website designed and maintained by adept