Christ at the Checkpoint or Crisis at the Checkpoint?

I recently reviewed the current Christ at the Checkpoint (CatC) Manifesto point by point from a biblical perspective. As a result, I found myself either agreeing, disagreeing or a bit of both. The whole breakdown was part of a pre-conference review I did. One apparent core value of the CatC Manifesto–rightfully so– is reconciliation:
1. The Kingdom of God has come. Evangelicals must reclaim the prophetic role in bringing peace, justice and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel.
2. Reconciliation recognizes God’s image in one another.

On one hand, I do not agree on the point that the Kingdom of God has come (Kingdom Now Theology claims among other things, that Yeshua’s Kingdom was inaugurated at His first coming while Scripture states that He will reign as Messianic King on the throne of David from Jerusalem in a yet to come Millennial Messianic Kingdom as validated by Psalm 72:8, 11, 17; Isaiah 9:7, 11:6-11; Jeremiah 23:6, and Zechariah 3:10 among other Scriptures). But on the other hand, as a believer in Yeshua, I see the great need for peace, justice and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. Furthermore, as proposed in Article 2 of their Manifesto, I agree that we are created in God's image and should look at each other from that perspective only (God created man and woman in His image, regardless of ethnicity as seen in Genesis 1:27; 5:1; 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7; and Ephesians 4:24.)

Reconciliation is indeed critical, as long as real reconciliation is sought.Biblical or not, proper reconciliation requires:
1. Identify the issue
2. Identify the protagonists
3. Recognize the need to reconcile
4. Recognize shortcomings
5. Seek forgiveness and unity

These five steps can be used in any context, but when it involves believers, it must be on the firm foundation of God's word, based on a consistent and literal approach to the Bible. Anything less brings man's opinion into the equation and reveals our inability to be unbiased and just. In the context of CatC 2016, it was hardly the case. the scale was tipped in favor of the Palestinian and Palestine from the word go!

It is obvious to Israelis and Arabs, as well as the rest of the world that there is a crisis/conflict in the Middle East. The issue has been identified as a disputed piece of land the size of the state of New Jersey. Some will claim that this sliver of real estate belongs to the Jewish people based on a covenant that God made with them through Abraham, going back to Genesis 12 and further ratified through Isaac and Jacob in Genesis 12:1-3, 7; 13:15;17:7-8, 19; 25:5-6; 26:3; 28:3-4 and 35:9-15. Others will argue that the land belonged to the Palestinians and was stolen, colonized and now suffers from an apartheid policy by Israel. Identifying the issue could be done by saying that opinions differ on whom the land belongs to.

The protagonists–for lack of a better word– are the Arabs and the Jews. The fact that Arabs in the region are now called Palestinians only exacerbates the issue. Before 1967, the word "Palestinian" simply described inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael also known back then as Palestine. It was then inhabited by Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews. So technically, anytime Israelis and Palestinians are described as the two main protagonists, it is a misnomer and it results in setting-up a false premise. It would then be proper to describe the protagonists in the context of an "Arab/Israeli" conflict.

All sides speak of the obvious need to reconcile and bring peace to the region. CatC claims that the model for that reconciliation is Yeshua and His Gospels, yet the vast majority of the conference is spent describing Israel as the occupier and the enemy. There were so many instances where Israel was called the enemy during CatC, yet no mention was made of Palestinian terrorism, stabbings or any other feats of Islamic terror. They actually even invited a Muslim scholar who is linked to Hamas. CatC's definition of reconciliation doesn't seem to include the recognitions of both sides' shortcomings and really seems to emphasize Israel need to apologize and stop the invasion of "Palestine."

On a lighter note, I found it very telling that in the name of reconciliation, the only symbol hanging next to the speakers podium was a Palestinian Kaffiyeh (head covering made popular by Yassir Arafat). It would have gone a long way to hang it next to a tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) as a symbolic picture of reconciliation. Additionally, the worship sessions included songs in English and Arabic. It would have also shown good intentions if they had included some of the lyrics in Hebrew. Even the CatC website only exists in English and Arabic.

To an extent, I can understand that people living in the Middle East and having been brought up in a culture that is vastly antisemitic could have a hard time accepting Israel right to exist and right to the land. I don't share their views but I understand that they can have them. What baffles me is the involvement of evangelical Christians–once supporters of Israel– such as Fuller Seminary Mark Labberton or "Bible Answer Man" Hank Haneggraff. Mr Haneggraff's presentation was a disgrace. His unbiblical approach to the issue at hand and his vitriolic description of Zionism and Christian Zionism was borderline antisemitic and certainly in line with the conference's philosophy. I have yet to find anything in Mr. Haneggraff's message that would encourage anybody towards proper reconciliation. He was joined by a plethora of speakers from all theological perspectives with only one common goal: the demonization of Israel. It was Christian Palestinianism at its scariest best!

For the honest viewer who respects the Word of God, the veneer of reconciliation and fight against extremism wasn't very hard to peel. Once that done, it was easy to see that Christ at the Checkpoint is indeed interested in reconciliation, as long as by it they mean Israel's unilateral apology for its "crimes" against Palestinians, Israel relinquishing the "occupied" land of Palestine and further submitting to the regional demands by its Arabs neighbors. As a one way street, this has nothing of a true reconciliation. So at the end of the day, Christ at the Checkpoint was really more of a "Crisis at the Checkpoint." Evangelicals should have nothing to do with such a farce!

No Hate Speech on Facebook, Unless it's Against the Jews of Course!

In December 2015, the NGO Shurat Hadin - Israel Law Center, started an experiment on Facebook to see if the social Network giant was indeed guilty of double standards when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians. They decided to create two similar Facebook pages called "Stop Israel" and "Stop Palestinians" and started posting similar articles, visuals and statements on each site. For instance, the anti-Israel page had a post that read “The Zionist bites Palestine part after part and the world is silent. We’ll stop them any way we can”, while the anti-Palestinian site posted “Greater land Israel should return soon from the hands of the Muslim enemy back to Jewish sovereignty! We’ll do it in any way we can.”  More posts purposely filled with hatred and incitement against both sides and from both pages continued to flow. The verbiage was almost similar on all posts except for the obvious targeting of one side by the other. They actually documented the process in a two-minutes film where they show how Facebook shut down the anti-Palestinian page while the anti-Israel page continued to run. The NGO Shurat Hadin filed a law suit against Facebook and both side are awaiting a date for a court hearing.

This is not the first time that Facebook chooses to take sides. I have reported several pages over the last five years only to get the same answer from Facebook staff. That very answer was given to the Israel Law Center, justifying the taking down of the anti-Palestinian page because "We reviewed the page you reported for containing credible threat of violence and found it violates our community standards."  The very same day, the page inciting against Jews received a message from Facebook staff saying that " it was not in violation of Facebook rules." Wait a minute, I thought that violence and hatred against anybody was to be reprimanded. The Facebook "Community Standards" that were violated on one page were IDENTICAL to those violated on the other page except of course for the fact that one targeted group was the Jewish people and Israel.

The sad truth about this experiment is that the vast majority of people won't react because they are used to see Jewish people being harassed, abused and even physically hurt. There seems to be a sense of resignation, if not acceptance when Israel and/or the Jews get hurt, while there is an immediate display of outrage when Palestinians are targeted. Forget the fact that Palestinians and their leadership are almost always the instigators and Israelis the victims. Let us simply seek equality in the censorship of xenophobic websites and social network pages or accounts.

Consider Facebook pages such as  Images from Palestine, Image and Reality of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict or Jewish Ritual MurderThey are replete with antisemitic rhetoric in pictures, videos and words, yet they are not taken down because they are "not in violation of Facebook rules." Seriously?

Recently, Mark Zuckerberg –a self-proclaimed atheist from Jewish parents–declared his unequivocal support for Muslims worldwide in response to Donald Trump's statement about closing US borders to all Muslims. He was quoted coming to the defense of Muslims after the November 2015 Paris attacks “As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn’t against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone.” So I wonder if Mr.Zuckerberg forgot or ignored his recent statement that all of us should "stand up against attacks on all communities?" Maybe he doesn't even know about the double standards applied to Jews and Palestinians on Facebook, although by now he has got to be aware of it all.

Taken straight from Facebook's "Community Standards" we can read their simple statement under: Encouraging Respectful Behavior: Hate Speech "Facebook removes hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on Race, Ethnicity, National origin, Religious affiliation, Sexual orientation, Sex, gender, or gender identity, or Serious disabilities or diseases. Organizations and people dedicated to promoting hatred against these protected groups are not allowed a presence on Facebook."

Then please explain why the anti-Israel page with virulent antisemitic statements was never removed? Regardless of where the double standard comes from, Facebook must be held accountable. The Israeli law suit might correct the recent wrong but it will not stop the next one and those thereafter.

I have used Facebook for years as a platform to share my thoughts, comments and articles. I value that platform because of its global reach. It has become such a part of our daily routine and social communication that it would be hard to refrain from using it. On the other hand, if you feel that there is a double standard in the treatment of Jews and Palestinians on the Social Network giant, speak up!

You can file complaints on Facebook's Help Center and you don't have to be Jewish, Muslim or anything else for that matter. You just have to be a proponent of truth, justice, fairness and accountability for all mankind. If we don't say anything, we have no right to complain when Israelis are getting stabbed to death on the streets of Israel or French Jews machine gunned in a Kosher supermarket or any other xenophobic acts take place.

Terror in Israel: Lone Wolves are still Wolves!

In the last month, Israel has reported almost 800 acts of terror. Much speculation arose in the media around the globe as to the possibility of a third Intifada slowly taking place. Yet, as of now, if we compare the current events to those of the First Intifada of 1987-1991 and of the Second Intifada of 2000-2005, we are not seeing an out-of-control uprising of a large number of Palestinians. It is simply too early to tell. There is little doubt that it could pick-up more momentum and become a third Intifada, but for right now it appears to be a random series of acts of terror by Palestinians acting as "lone wolves".

Frankly, the recent attacks on Israeli citizens–as isolated and sporadic as they have been–are still posing a great danger to everyday life in the land. They represent individual jihad more than a third Intifada, but at the end of the day, the same people are targeted, the same people are victimized and the same agenda is promoted. Terror is terror is terror! Many unnecessary fatalities have been reported.

• Unpredictable Terror:
One of the grave dangers posed by this on-going terrorism in Israel is the fact that each act of terror is very unpredictable and very different form other murderous acts. Here are just a few:
• October 20: The stoning of a car forced an Israeli citizen to exit his vehicle and led him to be killed by a moving truck.
• October 18: A Palestinian grabbed the rifle off an IDF soldier, killed him and wounded eleven more people.
• October 16: A Palestinian disguised as a journalist stabs an IDF soldier
• October 13: A stabbing and shooting on a bus in Southern Jerusalem led to the killing of 4 people and wounding 15 more.
• October 1: Shooting to death of a young couple under the eyes of their wounded young children.

These acts are all different which makes them nearly impossible to predict or thwart. This unpredictability is possibly the greatest threat to Israel right now. Israel has become a world leader and expert on how to detect explosive devices ahead of their detonations. But how do you detect a knife made out of a school ruler? How do you predict the stoning of a car on the road? How do you avoid a car running into a group of people waiting at a bus stop? It is simple...You don't!

• Cheap Terror:
Martyrdom has long been part of the Palestinian culture. Young Palestinians are indoctrinated at a very early age against Jewish people. They are told and taught about "killing Jews." Death is part of the fabric of many Muslim countries in the Middle East, especially when it is connected to Israel. The promise of a "heavenly harem" of 72 virgins along with financial incentives to the families of homicide bombers have been common practice in Palestinian circles.

Not every Palestinian is keen on losing their life to "the cause", but just about anyone would be willing to randomly hurt Israelis as they have done recently. This demands a very small investment of willing "Palestinian Martyrs" and thus is a cheap method of terror that becomes very attractive to many. We can expect a lot more of these acts in the upcoming weeks.

• Financed Terror:
It was good to hear that the US decided to cut its financial aid to Abbas by $80 million (why they still sent the remaining $290 million defies logic). Financial help to a terrorist group is basically terrorism. Why would we look at any other terror states such as Iran funding Hamas, Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda and see them as terror partners but ignore the United States involvement in terrorism?
Not one dollar of the $290 million that the United States sent Abbas in 2015 was ever justified, unless of course we bought Abbas' lies about Palestinians being the victims of the Israeli occupation. The fact that the US retained $80 million in funding shows that something is wrong, but it is akin to trying to get somebody to stop smoking by pulling a few cigarettes out of their pack and letting them smoke the rest. It simply won't work!

This current wave of spontaneous terror attacks on Israeli citizens and soldiers is not an intifada per se, at least not an "old school" intifada. Yet it might end-up being more damaging than the previous two intifadas. If creativity prevails, we will see more attacks in ways that nobody could predict. This has become a logistical nightmare for Israel. No wonder the mayor of Jerusalem recently announced to its Jewish residents that if they had a valid carry license, they should never leave home without a firearm.

The wolves attacking Israel might not come in packs and might be far from being well organized and structured, but they remain wolves with a ferocious appetite for Jewish lives. It is not about Jerusalem, it is not about the Temple Mount and it is not about the disputed territories. It is simply about the complete eradication of Israel and all Jews.

I still rest in the fact that God continues to be a Zionist and continues to protect Israel from complete destruction as we can read in Psalm 121:1-4
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LordWho made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.

As a Jew, I can support Palestine!

One of the major reasons why there is so much strife in the region is because of the lack of clarity in these definitions as well as the amount of historical inaccuracy supporting them. Modern day Palestinians and their supporters often speak of "historic Palestine" in an attempt at validating its existence prior to that of the Jewish people. But was there such a thing as a historic Palestine and if there was, how could it be defined?

Let us start with what we know from history and define a geographical Palestine. At this point, my use of the word Palestine will only be to describe geographical boundaries in the Middle East. It is therefore critical to differentiate between the "Land of Palestine" as a geographical area and the "State of Palestine" as a political entity. Palestine is a piece of land in Eastern Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, squeezed in a very strategic region between Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq.

The word "Palestine" has been etymologically altered over the last 50 years. Until then, it was simply the name of a region. Biblically, it was actually NEVER called Palestine but "The Land of Canaan". It was God's choice to give the Land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants as we read in Genesis 17:8: "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."

Nevertheless, the first use of the word itself might go back to the 5th century BCE out of Greece.  It came from Herodotus who penned The Histories, considered a foundational work on history in Western literature. In Book III of The Histories, he calls it Palaestine. Many authors and historians such as Aristotle, Plutarch and Josephus followed Herodotus in the use of the name which always described a geographical area.

Fast forward to the last Jewish revolt against the Romans known as the Bar Kochba Revolt (132-135 CE) and you now have the official renaming of that area as Palaestina to further humiliate the remaining Jewish people after their defeat. Additionally, Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina by emperor HadrianThere is no archeological or historical evidence for the survival of the people known as the Canaanites–from whom many believe the Palestinians come from. On the other hand, we can trace the first Hebrews in the Land of Canaan back to 1,300 BCE.

The name Palestine continued to be used for that area of the world through the centuries, and Jewish presence was never put into question. In the early 1880s, Diaspora Jews who had been spread out all over the world since the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 CE, had started to return to Palestine in a series of Aliyot due to intense persecution. In 1916, the region was divided under the Sykes-Picot Agreement between France and Grand Britain. Lebanon and Syria were assigned to France and Palestine was assigned or "mandated" to Great Britain. The 1917 Balfour Declaration established that because of the "historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine", The Jewish people were entitled to return to the area. The statement was very clear: "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object."

While there might have been some tension as to who really belonged in the land and its exact boundaries, Palestine remained a descriptive for a geographical area and not a political movement or people group. It is then accurate to say that historically we can support geographical Palestine.

The area known as Palestine under the British Mandate actually included what was then known as Trans-Jordan (East of Jewish Palestine). One is to wonder why Trans-Jordan or "Eastern Palestine" is never mentioned and never included in the modern quest for the Palestinian State? That area known today as Jordan, represented 85% of the Entire British Mandate, yet it apparently wasn't enough! Incidentally, the Palestinian flag is almost identical to the Jordanian flag.

The tide began to turn in 1929 during the Hebron Massacres and the Arab revolt of 1936-39. Around that time, it was still appropriate to speak of " Palestinian Jews" and "Palestinian Arabs". In 1948, Palestinian Jews became known as Israelis and Palestinian Arabs started to be called Palestinians as the narrative switched from geographical Palestine to "historic" Palestine. Yet many arabs from neighboring countries continued to call themselves Arabs and not Palestinians for a while longer.

Yassir Arafat (born in Egypt) came on the scene and the pressure was increased on the modern state of Israel. The terms Palestine and Palestinian continued to be deconstructed and re-defined. Today Egyptians and Jordanians of the past are calling themselves Palestinians and claiming right to the Land of Palestine in the name of "self-determination." Arab victims of the War of Independence (1948), the Six-Day War (1967) and the Kippur War (1973) have been made into political refugees, forcing Israel to become the "occupier."

Historical revisionism will work for two reasons. On one hand, the lies propagated by its supporters are constantly placated on the news, in books, interviews and the internet. On the other hand they are for the most part never challenged. A repeated lie that is never challenged eventually will become the new accepted truth.

This new truth of a displaced people [the Palestinians] and an occupier [the Israelis] is what currently punctuates the news. Unfortunately, it also dictates the world's response to the Middle East crisis. But it is based on revisionism and not on historical facts. Any serious student of history, while not blindly exonerating Israel of all guilt over the last 67 years, will recognize Israel's right to exist and be in the land. Israel's right to the land can be proven biblically, historically, geographically and archeologically.

You can choose to call that land the Holy Land, Eretz Yisrael, Jewish Palestine or even Western Palestine as we could agree that all these term are inter-changeable, as long as the name refers to a geographical area. From that angle, I support Palestine. The moment that Palestine becomes a political entity with a fictitious displaced people is the moment that I draw the line.

Geographical Palestine exists while historic Palestine never did. More than the Israelis, the real victims are the Jordanians, Egyptians and other Arab neighbors of Israel who were made into something they are not. Of course, their children and grand-children, innocently born as "refugees" only exacerbates the problem. We might not be able to come-up with a viable solution any time soon, but this shouldn't give us the liberty to ignore the problem and its root cause.

The Pope who loved the Jews...Really?

It doesn't matter if you are Catholic or not, the Pope is an international figure that cannot be ignored. As a Jew, I do not fall under his authority like a Roman Catholic would, but I understand that he can be a very influential person.

Over the centuries, many popes have come and gone and those who truly loved the Jews were definitely few and far in between. I do not want to give the impression of being anti-Catholic, yet if history is our witness, the Catholic Church has often failed in the area of Judeo-Christian relations. Where the Church as a religious institution has failed, many catholic individuals succeeded, as there are many stories of Catholics loving, helping, hiding and protecting Jews over the centuries and especially during the Holocaust era.

The current Pope was introduced to the world as a "friend of the Jews". He comes only a short fifty years after Vatican II and the famous Nostra Aetate  document also known as the "Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions." This short, very ecumenical document was aimed at reconciling Jews, Muslims and Christians among other things. It is at that time, almost 1,700 years after the death of Yeshua (Jesus) that the Catholic Church decided to exonerate the Jews from the charge of deicide (the killing of God). That statement is worth reviewing: "Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (cf. John 19:6), neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion. lt is true that the Church is the new people of God, yet the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture. Consequently, all must take care, lest in catechizing or in preaching the Word of God, they teach anything which is not in accord with the truth of the Gospel message or the spirit of Christ.
There is no doubt that a clear attempt was made at exonerating the Jewish people from the death of Yeshua. But outside of a few within the leadership of the time along with a few of their Jewish followers, the corporate guilt for the death of Yeshua was established on a false premise.  A simple review of chapter 10 of the Gospel of John would probably have sufficed to see that Yeshua claimed to have given His own life for all. One doesn't need to adhere to the Christian faith to even see that: "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father".

Interestingly enough, within the same breath, that statement declares that “lt is true that the Church is the new people of God.” Such a theological construct is also based on a faulty biblical approach seeing Christians has having “replaced” Israel. Replacement Theology has always been very prevalent within the Catholic Church.

Fifty years and a few popes later, the Catholic Church has a new pontiff in Pope Francis, a Jesuit from Argentina. He has the reputation of having nurtured some very positive relationship with the Jewish community of Buenos Aires over the years. He even co-wrote the book On Heaven and Earth with Argentine rabbi Abraham Skorka.

Pope Francis' relationship with the Jewish community seems sincere and has garnered him a trust from rabbis and Jewish leaders that had not been seen in decades. So it's all good, right? Well maybe not! Ecumenism by nature is open to a wide array of various belief systems. It seeks a common denominator on which it can build its multicultural, multi-religious and tolerant agenda.

But the Pope should be careful in his ecumenical endeavor to make our world better. While it is our corporate responsibility to do all we can to improve our world–a concept found in Judaism as well, and known as tikkun olam (repairing the world)–it shouldn't be done at anybody's expense but to everybody's benefit. Lately I would posit that the Vatican's approach to the betterment of the world could end-up being very detrimental to Israel and the Jews.

The world reacted when Pope Francis was quoted saying to Mahmoud Abbas that he was "an angel of peace". The media outlets were quick to react, the ADL was outraged and the blogosphere buzzed with negative excitement. How could a friend of the Jews call a terrorist an angel of peace? Was the Pope an anti-Semite after all? Many would have easily taken that road, but soon after the statement was published, an explanation followed. The Pope had simply given Abbas a medal that he had also given to other world leaders, telling the head of the Palestinian authority that he hoped that he could become an angel of peace. So calm was restored and the Pope had retained his good reputation with the Jews.

But did he?

I have to admit that calling Abbas an angel of peace would have been a grave mistake. This being said, is it truly better now that we understand that Pope Francis was encouraging a terrorist who clearly wants the total destruction of Israel? I think not!

To remove all doubt, the Vatican also decided a few weeks ago to sign a new treaty to recognize the Palestinian State. The Vatican has been in favor of the recognition of Palestine since 2012, but this upcoming treaty would "formally recognize Palestine". This will be a blow to Israel and the Jewish people, but it will also hurt the reputation that the Catholic Church has been working hard at changing at least for the last five decades. How can a friend of the Jews mingle with a terrorist and officially recognize a terrorist state bent on eradicating the Jewish people?

Many Jewish people worldwide do not trust the Catholic Church and/or catholic people. While many Catholics were friendly to Jews, like the family of peasants who hid my mother and her cousins during the Holocaust years, they weren't the norm. Looking at history, words like forced baptisms, forced conversions, Crusades, Inquisition, Pogroms and Holocaust come to mind when a Jewish person is asked about the Catholic Church. While I recognize that even using these words to describe the Catholic Church represents painting with very broad strokes, the connection is real, it is painful and in many cases the wounds are still open.

Pope Francis recent dealings with Abbas and decision to officially recognize Palestine could very well destroy five decades of Judeo-catholic rapprochement and even ad some salt to these wounds. Catholics are part of what is known as Christendom and as such are considered Christians. Next time one of your Jewish friends tells you that ALL Christians are anti-Semitic, even though that isn't a true statement, the opposite might be a bit more difficult to defend.

Bibi's Miraculous Landslide Victory Will Help Identify his Enemies!

In listening to the media and a majority of political analysts, Benjamin Netanyahu had a tough road ahead in the 2015 Israeli elections. So when his Likud party won 30 seats (six seats ahead of Herzog's Zionist Union party), it was a bit of a surprise for most and even a shock for some. Netanyahu's victory could be considered a landslide victory, but certainly must be considered a miraculous victory. For the next few years, Israel will continue to thrive under the leadership of one of the strongest Prime Minister in her history.

Bibi's victory doesn't make everybody happy, especially after some of the announcements he made hours prior to the elections. His enemies will be quick to denounce and criticize him and his agenda.

At the top of the list we can obviously find the Palestinian Authority and Hamas doing everything in their power to delegitimize Israel. The PA continues to apply pressure at the International Criminal Court in The Hague to force them to investigate possible war crimes during the 2014 Gaza War. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declared:“It is clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will form the next government, and for that, we say clearly that we will go to The Hague tribunal, we will accelerate, continue and intensify.” This is a despicable move akin to accusing Jews of crimes against humanity during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against the Nazis. Hamas has also called for renewed confrontations with Israel...No surprise there!

Another disappointed enemy is the leader of Zionist Union Isaac Herzog who many had seen as a serious contender in the race for the Knesset. Herzog finally conceded and congratulated Bibi on his victory.

The Israeli government is a complicated political machine. The Knesset demands that the ruling party would form a coalition with other parties since 61 seats are required for a majority over its 120 seats. No party has ever won with a majority in Israel's 67 years of history. Very often the votes are so close that coalition governments are formed with members of the two parties who were competing for the win only the night before. But this time, with 30 seats, Netanyahu finds himself in a majority position from the start, allowing him to form a government much more center-right than ever before. This is a bigger defeat for the Left in Israel. Netanyahu will certainly gain more power from the get go.

Herzog campaigned on issues that he thought were attractive to Israelis like renewed talks with the Palestinians towards a Palestinian state, a strengthening of US/Israel relations, and a change in Israel's economy bridging the gap between classes. He wanted to bring "Change" to Israel. I think that someone, somewhere already tried that same socialistic ideology and it failed! As it turned out, Israeli voters were much more interested in the security of their country than the economy of their country. After all how good is a rebounding economy in a country that would be opening its doors to people determined to kill all the Jews. Security over economy doesn't mean that Netanyahu will not work towards a better Israel economically, but as he has said numerous times and repeated at his address to the US congress, the security of Israel's people is first and foremost.

It is also interesting to notice that the "Joint Arab List" became the third party in the Knesset. This will undoubtedly create a new dynamics within the Israeli government. What we need to remember is that the "Joint Arab List" comprises three different lists that strongly disagree within themselves. They had to form a mini Arab coalition to even become a reality within the Knesset. Will they find enough of a common ground in their loathing of Israel to work together? Time will tell, but I am certain that we will hear more from the "Joint Arab List."

Many international leaders are worried about Bibi's last minute shift to the right to garner the necessary votes from ultra-nationalist factions. They feel that it will only exacerbate the Palestinians and further bury the prospect of any peace in the Middle East. What they really fail to understand is that a more socialistic party like that of Isaac Herzog would facilitate the emergence of a group of people who have absolutely no interest in a two-state solution. They might hypocritically pretend to be open to the idea, but that is only until they have gained enough power to completely annihilate the Jews. Mr. Herzog idealistic vision is obviously blinded by his liberal leanings.

And then of course, there is the leader of the "United Welfare States of America", Barack Obama! While many heads of states will personally call Netanyahu to congratulate him on the Likud's victory, Mr. Obama gave the task to a White House aid who congratulated Israel without any mention of Netanyahu or the Likud. Some will accuse me of pettiness, but the least that our President could have done was to call Netanyahu in person. Then again, coming from the same man who chose to snub Bibi's recent congress speech, it shouldn't surprise us. What a shame!

It is unclear if Bibi's speech on March 3rd, 2015 in front of the US congress was a political move or just a heartfelt desire to cry out to the international community. It was probably a bit of both. What is certain is that it facilitated Bibi's victory. His stance on the "Iranian Deal" was powerful and obviously a slap in the face of our president and "King of Appeasement."

Relations between America and Israel are tense and fragile at best. There are still many Americans who support the Jewish state. We might expect that the already strained relations between Netanyahu and the White House could lead to a political divorce. The one positive aspect of this win is that Netanyahu will outlive Obama in office and could very well regain a respected position with the next US administration.

So it would appear that Mr. Netanyahu has many enemies to contend with, within and without Israel. Physical rockets will continue to fall over Israel as will the verbal rockets from the liberals, the current US administration and the media. In the meantime, I believe that Bibi's victory will ensure the best approach to Israel's security. The road ahead is a rocky one and would greatly benefit from the prayer of the friends of Israel.

Congratulation Mr. Prime Minister, my prayers are with you and Israel!

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, May they prosper who love you. Psalm 122:6