Part 2 — this portion first appeared in the October 1996 Levitt Letter.
Writing about Israel at any given time is very difficult because that nation is in a constant state of change. Anyone who has visited the place will testify to the almost electrifying atmosphere in the streets, and the sense of spiritual forces, potential physical danger, and unmitigated energy that simply permeate the air in that unique place.
After thinking about this chapter for a full year and collecting notes, I realize that a book could well be written, rather than just a chapter, on this particular year in Israel. Three events, especially, seem to stand out as regarding prophecy. They are the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin; the sudden acceleration of terrorism in the spring of 1996; and the election of Binyamin Netanyahu, which seemed to surprise everyone but those familiar with the Israeli population and their concerns.
(The global news-media bias against Israel and in favor of various Arab schemes and causes has given many people a false picture of the Holy Land. The Arabs, 200 million in number, are cast as the underdog to the 4-1/2 million Israelis; and the Palestinians, the perpetrators of terrorism, are considered the victims in the press and electronic coverage. With the media, the U.S. administration, and almost everyone else rooting for Prime Minister Shimon Peres and the “peace process,” the world was shocked when the Israeli population elected Netanyahu.
But this was easy to understand from the streets of Israel. The population was simply worried about giving away land to people who seemed to have no intention of making peace. The media was dishonest enough to call the election “razor-thin” and “hairline,” when actually the Jewish vote put Netanyahu ahead 56% to 44%. The vote of the Israeli Arabs, a monolithic one in favor of Peres, made the election seem close in the pure numbers, but ought not to be taken seriously as valid balloting in a democracy. No Arab nation is now, or has ever been, a democracy, and Arab people pretty much vote as a bloc or as they are told to vote.)
Regarding the first of the history-making events of the past year, the Rabin assassination, I looked back at our ministry’s coverage of that event. We were certainly asked a host of questions about what really happened and how we felt about it. I devoted my December 1995 personal letter to responding to those questions.
At this time, looking back on the assassination, it has seemed to militate toward the End Times in a very direct way. We might describe the subsequent chain of events as follows: Peres takes over the government and accelerates the peace process; the people of Israel polarize and the “right wing” is accused of causing the assassination; the Palestinians also divide, with those not in favor of the peace process heightening their terrorist activities; the bombing of buses in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv causes a majority of the Jewish population to swing toward the right; Netanyahu wins the election.
At the time of this writing, there is an uneasy silence in Israel, with both sides (the Israelis and the Palestinians) waiting to see what the policies of the new government really will be. The way in which this militates toward the Tribulation period is that the policies Netanyahu chooses to embrace could have the potential to bring on real conflict — a true shooting war. That is, if he refuses to go ahead with the peace process, the Palestinians will sooner or later escalate the terrorism until life in Israel becomes unbearable. They might also consider that they have enough of an excuse to attack Israel, with the help of Syria or whomever, and they would most likely have world opinion on their side.
World opinion is created by the aforementioned media bias, which is invariably anti-Israel these days.
If, on the other hand, Netanyahu goes ahead with the peace process and step-by-step gives Israel over to the Palestinians, the Israelis would find themselves on a relatively narrow coastal strip facing the populous West Bank high ground in the center of the country. The Palestinians would then be in a position to launch an attack against a much smaller Israel, which the Israelis might choose to repulse with nuclear weaponry.
Thus, in either case, the so-called peace process leads ultimately to war. Or then again, it might lead to the brink of war, giving the Antichrist his cue to enter the negotiations with his own “superior” peace plan. One can imagine the beleaguered Israelis, realizing that the use of nuclear materials in so small a space would be almost as dangerous to themselves as to their enemy, contemplating what to do and glad to have an alternative of a seven-year peace plan.
I am purely speculating on the scenario that will bring the Antichrist on stage at last, but the peace process in Israel is extremely suggestive of the administration of the Antichrist. It bears all his characteristics: it is anti-Israeli, it is a false peace, and it leads ultimately to war.
I have touched on the media bias that has given Israel an undeservedly bad reputation in the minds of today’s generation. We must bear in mind that most of the people alive today did not witness the founding of Israel, nor did they live as adults through the period when a young and brave Israel of kibbutzim and defensive wars sustained itself and grew into the nation it is today. Rather, university-age students and even Baby Boomers are conscious only of a strong Israel and its opposition to the Arabs. That unfortunate opposition means that petro-dollars and Israel are on opposite sides of an ongoing debate.
Should we support our sister democracy with whatever blemishes it may have, or should we favor the Arabs and maintain an inexpensive, steady flow of oil to run our civilization? The media, like any other business, give their best customers the most courtesy, and they are utterly ruled by oil money. The advertising of cars, plastics, gasoline, cosmetics, and a thousand other petroleum products, supports the for-profit media enterprises we mistakenly assume are neutral in their reportage. Obviously, they follow an invariably pro-oil-money line. The Arabs have even gone so far as to purchase certain news agencies, including the United Press International, in order to more effectively manage the news we get.
I have personally had the experience of speaking to newspaper editors who would not even correct misreported facts in Arab-released news; they simply accused me of bias. I pointed out to the foreign editor of the Dallas Morning News that the paper had reported violence in Manger Square in Bethlehem in December 1994, while my tour group, which stood in the square the whole evening, had seen no violence whatsoever. I also commented that the Morning News was running an Arab news release from Cairo, and they might want to correct their errors. I was told that the editor understood my bias. I replied that it was not a matter of bias but of eyewitness testimony, and that the Morning News was not reporting the facts. I asked if, since they had an Arab writer, did they perhaps have any Jewish editors to look at the copy and see if it was at least accurate. To that, the editor answered, “I consider that a racist question.”
David Bar-Illan, executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, reported that the New York Times, “the newspaper of record,” reported an influx of 200,000 Palestinians from Kuwait into Gaza during the Persian Gulf War. Nothing of the kind happened at all, but that august newspaper refused to print a retraction or even look into the matter, and this important misinformation is now there to be read by future generations as presumably a reason why the Palestinians needed more land. The news on television networks is equally biased. I personally find very repugnant the reportage of Mike Wallace, Robert Novak, Anthony Lewis, Thomas Friedman and Bob Simon. They can all be counted on to criticize Israel virtually 100% of the time. They are also all Jews, though they might not like that fact to be generally known.
Jerusalem is a particular bone of contention right now, and that is how the prophets portrayed it in the End Times. Jerusalem is the most wonderful city in the world, not only in its beauty, but also in its significance. The prophets picture the Millennial House of the Lord there on Mount Moriah, where the old temples of God once stood.
The book of Revelation also continues the career of Jerusalem beyond the kingdom and into eternity: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:1–2).
But Zechariah also chronicles tougher times for Jerusalem before all that good news, and I’m afraid we are now living in that turbulent period. “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zech. 12:3). This is a case where what once was a prophecy to be interpreted, is now daily news that anyone can see. Jerusalem and, indeed, all of Israel are becoming the center of the earth and the focus of all nations. The current peace process, which is still on track even after the recent assassination, prophetically will lead to that “covenant with death and hell” (Isaiah 28:15) warned about in prophetic Scripture. The Antichrist will eventually arrive with his seven-year treaty, and that will be the beginning of the end.