Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit with U.S. President Donald Trump has bolstered Israel’s security and global standing. It also shored up Netanyahu’s political leverage.
After Bibi’s contentious relationships with Obama and Clinton, he needed results from this trip that wouldboosthis influence at home—and the restoration of a strong Israel-U.S. alliance fits the bill. Though he didn’t get reassurances from Trump on every point he wanted, the visit was a success. For the first time in 11 years, a Republican president and friendlier, GOP-majority Congress welcomed the prime minister of Israel.
After a hiatus of relative calm, anti-Semitism has been accelerating at an alarming pace across the globe. Its most ominous surge is in Europe, Australia and North America—those traditional bastions of equal rights. All is not quiet on the Western front. Global anti-Semitism rose 30 percent in 2013 and 40 percent in 2014; in Europe, it increased sevenfold from the 1990s to the 2000s. "These are the worst times since the Nazi era," German Jewish leader Dieter Graumann told The Guardian. “It's pure hatred against Jews, nothing else.” Last year, anti-Semitism exploded exponentially, prompting U.S. Jewish leader Malcolm Hoenlein to warn of a “pandemic in formation.”
One of my most memorable experiences in Israel happened many years ago right outside the Old City of Jerusalem. I was living at a school on Mount Zion at the time, pursuing a master’s degree in Judeo-Christian Studies. As students often do, we came up with a bright idea that provided adventure while burning off pent-up energy from days spent in class. Our idea was to hike to the top of the Mount of Olives to watch the sunrise.
As immigration protests surge at airports and cities across the United States and in other places around the world, President Donald Trump continues to stand by his Jan. 27 executive order, with some adjustments, restricting immigration and his pledge to safeguard the citizens of the United States. Acknowledging America as a nation of immigrants, he vowed “compassion to those fleeing oppression…while protecting our own citizens and borders.” The importance of protecting borders from illegal entry is something Israel has known for a very long time yet she is unjustly criticized by the international community for protecting her citizenry from those whose objective is to perpetrate acts of terror.
Days after UNSC Resolution 2334 condemned Israeli settlements in the “occupied Palestinian territory” of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation under international law” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat issued a strong rebuke: The mayor and his planning-committee director announced the committee’s intent to approve building 618 previously planned housing units in East Jerusalem—a first step toward an additional 5,600 units in the city. “I’m not ever going to stop building. No construction will be stopped by me as mayor,” he said. While the Obama administration harmed its ally by strengthening its enemies, if President Trump holds to his promises perhaps things will change going forward but there is already talk of backpedaling.
Although Barack Hussein Obama’s tenure as President of the United States has ended and John Kerry is no longer the U.S. Secretary of State, Israel’s woes on the world’s stage are not over. However, under the new Trump administration, Israel will hopefully once again find they have a true and loyal friend in the United States.
A popular mountain peak frequented by tourists in Israel is Mount Bental in the Golan Heights. From the top of this mountain, one can see into Lebanon to the northwest and into Syria to the east bringing home just how small Israel is and how close are her enemies: Hezbollah in South Lebanon, ISIS and other jihadist groups in Syria, not to mention the Syrian Assad regime.
While settlements can be a source of conflict, they are not the major obstacle to peace. From 1948-1967 no Israeli settlements existed, yet the Palestinian leadership and the Arab World still sought Israel's annihilation.
In trademark tyrannical fashion, lame-duck President Barack Obama betrayed our historic ally Israel Dec. 23 by instructing the U.S. delegation to abstain on U.N. Security Council’s Resolution 2334—a blatantly one-sided, anti-Israel move. His maneuver ignored the will of the American electorate, the bi-partisan consensus in Congress, and America’s historic record of support for Israel at the United Nations.
The story of Hanukkah is often told with an emphasis on the evil ruler, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, King of the Hellenistic Seleucid empire, who was bent on the Hellenization of the Jewish people. Had he succeeded it would have meant the demise of the Jewish faith and thereby, the Jewish people. God’s plan to bring salvation to the world through their Messiah would have died with them.