EASTERN EUROPE OPENS ITS DOORS TO ISRAEL AS WESTERN EUROPE CLOSES ITS DOORS
It is becoming increasingly obvious that more and more Western European nations are doing all in their power to turn away from supporting Israel – industrially, economically, politically – whereas Eastern Europe is just the opposite. This has become quite a subject of discussion as Israel provides 80% of Europe’s oranges and its ‘market garden’ industry through the Kibbutz manifestations of green grocer production is astonishingly ‘way up there’. The increasing wealth of Israel through its high tech industries, medical science discoveries, its manufacturing inventions, its green energy supply, food security and export produce let alone its military might has created something of an anomaly for Western Europe to even begin to grasp.
But Eastern European nations have opened their arms to the open-hearted Israelis and it has not gone un-noticed. Several Eastern European countries, while having pasts rife with virulent anti-Semitism and atrocious records of behaviour toward Jews during the Second World War, differ greatly in their policies toward Israel compared to their Western European counterparts. In December, Czech lawmakers passed ‘resolutions’ criticising the decision by the European Union to label Israeli goods from Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, and urged the Czech government not to abide by it. Characteristically, all Czech political parties supported the resolutions, even those on the Left, save for the Communists, who claimed that the Czech Republic was too complacent towards Israel.
In a country like the Czech Republic, which paid a high price for the experiments of Communism for over 50 years, such slogans make a negligible impression. Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman also praised the resolution, saying that the vote “aligned the Czech Republic with democratic countries that fully respect human rights and reject any form of discrimination.” Close your eyes and picture any Western European politician uttering those words. Perhaps Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom? No, it is impossible even to imagine such a thing. The Czech Republic’s friendship with Israel extends back to the 1948 war, when the Czechs sold weapons to the fledgling Jewish state when very few others, wanted to do so.
It would be sobering to remember that the United States at that time enforced a weapons embargo on the entire region, whereas the British were in fact supplying both weapons and leadership to Arab militaries out to extinguish the Jewish state. During Soviet occupation, this friendship naturally went into a half-century long hiatus, but was rekindled after the end of the Cold War. Most recently, the Slovak and Lithuanian parliaments have decided to form pro-Israeli caucuses, a result of an initiative from the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus and others. “As Western European countries continue to turn their backs on the Jewish state, Eastern European countries are more supportive than ever of the only democracy in the Middle East – Israel,” Knesset Christian Allies Caucus director Josh Reinstein said.
Dismissing Europe entirely as a place where support for Israel can be found is a fallacy, even if it is admittedly one that is easy to make in the current circumstances. There are friends of Israel in Eastern and Central Europe, even if their membership of the European Union frequently renders their scope of action limited. This is very important to keep in mind. Too many observers in Israel and elsewhere forget that Europe consists of more than just Western Europe.
What is it going to take to bring about the purposes of God for Israel? Is it possible that we can see a spiritual breakthrough in political and social realms? Is it possible that we can see hearts and minds change? Through united, heartfelt prayer this is possible. It is amazing what the Lord will do when His people from different backgrounds come together to pray for their nation. It has been our privilege for over 20 years to facilitate special prayer initiatives around the world, many of them in hopeless war zones where any hope of peace and healing seemed impossible. But God, according to His ancient promise to King Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14, has brought about peace agreements, governments of national unity and other stunning breakthroughs, often suddenly, time and time again.
We have found that the spiritual leaders of a nation if they seek God together according to His word, praying in the unity of the Spirit, actually set the agenda for the political leaders because they have transacted business with the Lord, the One who has all power to bring about the impossible for His believing people. On November 4, selected ministry leaders from across Israel will gather for a day of prayer together, not to talk about political differences, but to seek God with open hearts. Their agenda will be the Lord and one another, humbly seeking together to fulfil Jesus’ prayer that we may be one as He and the Father are one so the world will know that He is its Saviour and Lord.
We believe that such a focus on the Lord and His purposes for the land and its peoples through united prayer will actually change the atmosphere so that what now seems to be impossible politically, socially, culturally and ecclesiastically will become possible in remarkable new ways. God is able to do “far more abundantly than all we can ask or think.” (Eph. 3:20)! Brian Mills and John Robb, two International Prayer Council leaders, have been invited facilitate this day of prayer on November 4th. Please pray for this important time, its effective planning, and that the right ministry leaders from across the country, both Jewish and Palestinian, will be able to participate.
NETANYAHU URGES STUDY OF THE BIBLE AT START OF NEW SCHOOL YEAR
This year, students must put more emphasis on learning the Bible, which is the “basis for why we are here,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at a cabinet meeting two days before the start of the new school year in Israel. Bible-supported Zionism, must be at the root of a “revolution” in education brought about by the government, said the Israeli leader. “Our objective is to carry out an education revolution,” he said. “This revolution will be based on two things: excellence and Zionism.” Zionism, built on Bible study and learning about Jewish heritage, will teach students why the Jews are in Israel, he continued, putting heavy emphasis on studying the Torah (Bible).
Bible study must come first, the prime minister elaborated. “First of all the study of the Bible. We must make a major effort, this is the basis for why we are here, why we have returned here, why we stay here.” Students should also learn about Jewish contributions to civilization, history, and knowledge, which is the “basis of the new world, and the basis of Israel as a strong nation in the world,” Netanyahu said.