An intriguing global trend has gone unnoticed in much of the Christian world for over a decade. While daily news headlines and social media posts, buttressed by the blogosphere, dutifully spew anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric, more and more nations are actually liking Israel.
Recently, Benjamin Netanyahu received a warm reception in countries throughout Africa. His tour to the African continent was the first by an Israeli Prime Minister in over 50 years. There, several heads of states expressed a sincere desire to develop and deepen mutually beneficial relations with Israel. Countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Nigeria need and seek Israeli anti-terror technologies, and agricultural, water, biomedical and other cutting edge developments. Energy sources discovered and developed in Israel are also a major draw. Even South Africa, formerly a strong proponent of BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel) is now warming to the Jewish state in certain respects. Meanwhile, Israel needs and seeks Africa’s diplomatic support in a post-American led world of mounting disorder and distress.
Over the past several years, important nations across Asia and Eastern Europe have also forged or deepened relations with the Jewish state.
Over the past several years, important nations across Asia and Eastern Europe have also forged or deepened relations with the Jewish state. These include India, China, Japan, Russia and others. Overall, despite escalating anti-Semitism and BDS, economic trade and political diplomacy between Israel and non-Western, non-Islamist countries has quietly flourished. Israel still maintains diplomatic and trade relations with most Western nations. What’s new is that emerging states now view her as a go-to resource for help on many levels.
To the surprise of many, Israel is also forging an unprecedented, under-the-radar alliance with so-called moderate Middle East countries. Behind the reported scenes, Israel is establishing or strengthening relations with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other states. These nations presently feel deeply threatened by Iran. They know Israel’s military ability to withstand Iran is stronger than the rest of theirs put together. It is said in the Middle East that, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” So for now, some Arab countries are willing to entertain the idea of at least a cold friendship with Israel for the sake of withstanding a worse and common enemy, Iran. Even Turkey, a once bitter enemy of Israel, is normalizing ties with the Jewish state.
Meanwhile, in a sadly ironic turn of events, some of the Western nations that were once instrumental in establishing the Jewish state are turning against her. Not surprisingly, most or all can now be identified as post-Christian. At the same time, most nations now opening their doors to Israel (including some Arab countries) are those in which at least a groundswell is opening to the Gospel. Many of these nations also face extremist Islamic terror – which further disposes them to align with, learn from or relate to Israel. To date, their collective political clout in the international community is still outweighed by that of Europe and the US. But winds are shifting; times are changing. At least for the short term, things could change.
As more nations view the Jewish state more favorably, what could the future hold?
As more nations view the Jewish state more favorably, what could the future hold? Are we as close to an all-out war against Israel as we thought we were even a year ago? Could God be giving emerging Christian nations an opportunity to be blessed by Israel and bless her back? Or are these nations simply trying to take economic advantage of Israel’s resources? And are we Jews simply trying to curry their favor instead of wholeheartedly trust in God? Then there’s The Big Question: Will Iran strike very soon at Israel and usher in an Ezekiel 38-39 war — or will such a war take place many years from now, later than many Christians had thought?
Politics in the Middle East is highly nuanced, complex and subject to quick change. Most prophetic and biblically astute Messianic Jewish Israelis admit they don’t know exactly how or when things will play out. I must say I agree with them. One reason I believe we don’t quite know how and when events will occur is that our prayers can and should influence those events. God wants to draw all humankind to Himself, does not enjoy suffering, and prefers to bless rather than curse. So even after decreeing a matter, our Father can respond to repentant prayer. His heart is touched by the cries of His people and He is not beyond altering the precise outplay of events He has decreed. (2 Kings 20:1-6, Jonah 3:1-10, 1 Chronicles 21:14-19.)
Perhaps God has graciously given Israel a respite in response to the prayers of Christians who have faithfully stood in the gap for her. If that is you, I wholeheartedly thank you! At the same time, I ask if you will please, for His Kingdom’s sake, and for the joy set before you, stay the course!
“Through your offspring, all nations on earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 22:18)
Luke Baker, “Diplomatic Ties Help Israel Defang International Criticism,” Reuters, 7/7/16; Frida Ghitis, “Israel Strengthens Asia Links as European Ties Fray,” World Politics Review, 1/21/16; Caroline Glick, “Israel’s Diplomatic Spring,” Jerusalem Post, 6/30/16.