The coalition partners

Fredi Winkler

After three standoff elections, the coronavirus pandemic practically forced Israel into a unified government. And so, the coalition partners resolved to create an emergency cabinet of national reconciliation. It’s not just the coronavirus that has become a threat, but also the internal dissension and disputing that go as far as mutual hatred.

The resolution states that the cabinet wants to address the schisms and strife within Israeli society, in order to defuse and heal them. Blaming each other and lying without shame had become almost normal. Of course, this was particularly true of the election campaigns.

The formation of such a cabinet appears, after years of mutual hatred, virtually “revolutionary.” It’s now a priority to act against the schisms and not, as has been the case up till now, to stand idly by when ruptures are bubbling near the surface. It remains to be seen whether this will succeed.

The world, and first and foremost the United States, has seen a wave of anti-racism protests. Israel, a country with a population having a wide variety of racial backgrounds, also has this potential for tension and strife. Only mutual respect and mutual esteem can prevent these differences from leading to destructive conflict.

In Philippians 2:3b, Paul gives the recipe for how to defuse conflicts that often arise from human tension. He says, “count others more significant than yourselves.”

These words are well-known. But, it’s always important to view noticeable and emphatic biblical statements in their context. Paul explains in advance that this, “considering others more significant” should be done with humility. However, it doesn’t mean some kind of humility chosen by human beings, but the same that Jesus Christ exemplified when He left the glory of the Father to save us humans. What Jesus did applies to everyone, regardless of race or origin.

Paul writes in verse 4: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” He continues with the appeal, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

What Paul says in these verses is not only important for living together in close community, but also applies to living together within a state; and beyond, among the nations of the world.

With this basic biblical principle in mind, it unfortunately needs to be said that the Word of God is less and less the model for legislation in the nations of the world. This also applies to formerly Christian nations.

A similar development can be seen in Israel. People argue about religious traditions, but the overwhelming moral and ethical message of God in the Bible, which is crucial for the coexistence of different people, is often carelessly ignored.

Threatening “storm clouds” like the coronavirus pandemic, but also others, are gathering above this world. What should we be doing about these threats? Simply trusting in the Lord, as God expected Israel to do when He brought her out of Egypt. In the certainty that God doesn’t leave those who trust in Him and leads them in the right way, I greet you warmly with Shalom.

News from Israel - 08/2020

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