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Friday Night's Sermon: Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

By now, everyone has heard, and weighed in on the President recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This has, as one would imagine, set off a firestorm of reactions across all spectrums of opinion. The reaction, next to the fires in California has dominated social media.

First of all, this is not new. The current administration did not institute this decision. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a decision during the Clinton Administration in the ‘90’s. It hasn’t been enacted because each succeeding administration has delayed it, effectively kicking the can until presumably peace would reign in the Middle East and the environment would be more congenial. President Trump had discussed this when he first became president and has now followed through. His remarks were that the peace process is stalled and there is no point in waiting anymore.

It will come as no surprise that the Arab world expressed their disapproval of this move, as did most of Europe. Some Arab countries—most notably Turkey and Lebanon—and groups—like the Taliban in Afghanistan—have complained that this move would incite violence in the area. Already, Palestinians are acting up in Israel and there was an attack on a Kosher butcher shop in England.

It is interesting when people say that the move would “incite violence”. I am reminded of the scene in the movie, “Liar, Liar”. A distraught Jim Carrey walks into his office and his secretary puts down her phone to tell him that a client of his is in jail again for robbing a bank and he wants to know what to do. He takes the phone with both hands, holds it an arm’s length and yells, “Stop robbing banks!”. Inciting violence is precipitated by people inciting violence—which happens anyway for just about anything.

Meanwhile, Israeli’s and Jews live in a world where the governing body, the United Nations, holds a monthly meeting where they issue a resolution against Israel for one thing or another. There is another group calling on countries and businesses to economically sanction Israel for alleged atrocities against Palestinians who attack Israeli’s for the slightest provocation. Again, what peace process?

People who are “liberal” are decrying this as the wrong move. Yet when pressed, their only answer is that they should sit down and hold peace talks. They ignore reality. In 2005, Israel pulled out and forcibly removed settlers in Gaza as part of a peace plan. That didn’t work.

So really, what are we waiting for? The world consistently condemns Israel while atrocities are committed in Syria, and other parts of the area condemn groups like homosexuals. In fact, the only humane place in the Middle East is Israel. In fact, when one of the heads of Hamas had a granddaughter who needed medical care, where did he take her? To a hospital in Israel where she was treated.

No other country in the world has this issue where other countries tell them where they can place their capital. No other country has had the condemnations and chastisement that Israel has had. We are in the season of Hanukkah, where after years of subjugation by a foreign, pagan-worshipping entity, the Judeans finally said, “enough” and after 20 years of fighting, drove them out and restored the synagogue.

Certainly, we Jews and Israelis don’t want violence; we just want to live our lives in peace and practice our heritage and culture. We have attempted to talk peace but the other parties refuse to sit down. Instead, they refuse to even acknowledge that we have a country and use every effort to demean us.

So what do we do? How do you reach out to people who have shown no interest in cooperating? We propose something, not good enough. Groups outside of the area are getting involved now as well.

Unfortunately, it’s a lot like being bullied at school. Someone larger than you keeps telling you to give them your lunch money or they’ll beat you up. So you acquiesce to avoid the punishment. But after years of this, you have enough and decide to fight back. Then people tell you you’re the one behaving badly by lashing out.

Just this week, Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has stood up to this bullying by other countries. She has vetoed the resolution condemning Israel and has said that by acknowledging Israel’s choice of their capital, the US is respecting the sovereignty of Israel, the same way every other country’s sovereignty is respected. Good for her.

Well, you continue to push for peace, as Israel is doing. You reach out as much as you can—and Israel does that. They tried to send a trauma team recently to help victims of an earthquake wrecked disaster on the Iraq-Iran border.

We constantly pray for peace in our daily prayers and we do our best to follow through. But of course, we have to live our lives as well. Maybe sooner than later, peace will prevail.

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