Israel is different

Arno Froese

In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

These are the last words in the book of Judges. Why was there no king? Because the Lord God was Israel’s king, their ultimate authority, their guidance and protection. But as we know, Israel rejected God from ruling over them. 

When the prophet Samuel grew old, his sons “turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment” (1 Samuel 8:3b). The leaders of Israel united to express their desire to Samuel: “Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (verse 5). 

The nation that was called by His name—the nation that was His people, segregated from all the nations of the world; a people destined to be above all the nations—now requests to be just like all the other nations.

What a message to us believers today! Looking at Churchianity, one quickly recognizes that the desire of the Church is to be like “the nations”; that is, the world. The Bible says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Yes, we live in this world, but we must always keep careful guard not to be of this world.

Israel in olden days rejected the Lord as their king, desiring an earthly king they could admire. They wanted to be just like the other nations of the world.

After Samuel carefully enumerated all the disadvantages of a king ruling over Israel, we read the determination of the people: “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles” (1 Samuel 8:19-20).

This tendency of Israel—desiring to be equal to the nations of the world—is self-evident when one reads Jewish history. Equality was their goal, but for about 2,000 years, they were bitterly disappointed and repeatedly experienced brutal segregation instead.

It’s quite ironic that an atheist by the name of Theodor Herzl became the spokesman for the Jewish desire to have their own homeland—to live, work, and exist just as all other nations on planet earth. His vision, as the modern founder of the Zionist movement, was expressed in in his book published in 1896 titled Der Judenstaat (“The Jewish State”).

It was in Switzerland on 28 August 1897, that about 208 delegates and 26 press correspondents attended this event called the first Zionist Congress. It was convened by Theodor Herzl.

Political Zionism was led by Theodor Herzl and Max Nordau in Russia. Later, Zionism developed into Practical Zionism, Synthetic Zionism, Labor Zionism, Revisionist Zionism, Cultural Zionism, Revolutionary Zionism, and Religious Zionism. 

Another important person in the development was Nathan Birnbaum, who published political periodicals such as Self-Emancipation! He espoused “the idea of a Jewish renaissance and the resettlement of Palestine” (jewishvirtuallibrary.org). None of these founders and early thinkers saw the birth of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948. Theodor Herzl was born in Budapest, Hungary on 2 May 1860; he died only 44 years later, on 3 July 1904 in Austria.

Religious Zionism played a lesser part, since the overwhelming majority were Jews driven by the communist ideology expressed in the founding of kibbutzim, which they instituted in as many places as possible in the land of Israel.

Communist kibbutzim have in the meantime undergone a drastic change. While the early leaders of the nation used their experience from the Russian kolkhoz (kibbutz) system to till the land and grow food, the new kibbutzim are centers of high-tech knowledge. An article on nocamels.com reports how kibbutzim became global powerhouses:

A kibbutz, by definition, is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. But a century after the establishment of the first kibbutz, farming is no longer the main economic branch at some of Israel’s 200 kibbutzim (the plural form of kibbutz). In fact, some kibbutzim have come up with such successful technologies and products, that their members—once socialist farmers—have become quite wealthy.

Founded in 1944, the pastoral Kibbutz Shamir, located in the Galilee, has traditionally relied on agriculture, like most kibbutzim. But in 1972 the Kibbutz founded Shamir Optical, which manufactures lenses for eyeglasses. It’s now one of the world’s only manufacturers of multifocal lenses, a multi-billion-dollar industry, thanks to its groundbreaking technology.

In 2010, French optics giant Essilor acquired half of Shamir optics for $130 million.

Netafim—which currently employs 4,000 employees around the world—opened two additional plants in Israeli kibbutzim Magal and Yiftah, as well as 13 international manufacturing facilities in 11 countries, with representative offices in 110 countries.

In 2011, the majority stake in Netafim was sold to German investment group Permira, a deal that valued the drip irrigation giant at almost $1 billion.

The uniqueness of this lies in the Jewish capacity to quickly change and adapt to present circumstances. That, incidentally, is what communist China does so well. They successfully operate a communist-socialist-capitalist system, capable of changing quickly.

Interestingly, Israel’s leadership has been in limbo for the last few years, which has become quite visible in recent months. Four national elections took place in just two years. Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, consists of 120 seats. The March 2021 election gave Likud 24.19% of the vote, or 30 seats. Sixty-one are required to form a government; thus, only a multi-party coalition can establish a government. [In the meantime, a razor-thin coalition deal was reached, in which Naftali Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years.]

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, “at least 110 parties have won representation in government throughout Israel’s history.” This really drives home the last sentence of the book of Judges: “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” And, in Israel’s present circumstances, each party’s own opinions must be bent or compromised in order to present a functioning, democratic government.

However, Israel is different; they have the Lord’s unconditional covenant: “I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you” (Judges 2:1).

Midnight Call - 08/2021

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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