As we approach the end of the year 2018 and take a glance at what the year was like, what did we see? Here are a just two dozen of them.
1. Israel celebrated its 70th year of independence! Yay!!!
2. Israel obtained evidence of Iran’s continued efforts of uranium enrichment and activities towards nuclear capability.
3. The United States withdrew from The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the formal name for the Iran nuclear agreement).
4. Hamas began and continues its weekly Israel-Gaza border fence uprisings, with the use of incendiary kite balloons and the widespread burning and destruction of agricultural land and other property in and around communities in the south of Israel.
4. U.S. President Donald trump signed into law the Taylor Force Act, which cut funds to the “PA” over its practice of paying terrorists (“pay to slay” stipend).
6. The United States moved its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and a few other nations followed suit.
7. Incidents of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic statements by public officials and groups in different countries rose considerably during the year.
8. Exposure and destruction of no fewer than five cross-border tunnels by Hezbollah from Lebanon and the failure of the U.N. to condemn that terrorist organization as a terrorist organization.
9. The U.N. mission on the Israel-Lebanon border marked its 40th anniversary – of ineffectiveness.
10. The U.N. Secretariat claimed that Israel was responsible for the damage to the UNRWA facilities in the 2014 Gaza War, despite the fact that Israel proved that terrorists used U.N. facilities to hide weapons and fire rockets towards Israel.
11. The U.S. finally decided to defund U.N.R.W.A., which totally failed in its mission to re-settle Arabs who left Israel prior to the War of Independence.
12. Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., a strong voice of moral, forceful American leadership in the world and a staunch defender of Israel in that world body, resigned as of the end of this year.
13. The Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) passed a quasi-constitutional law, which has come to be known as the “Nation-State Law”. It has been the center of controversy at home and abroad since its enactment. Proponents hail the legislation as a breath of fresh air, claiming, among other things, that it puts Jewish values and democratic values on an equal footing. Opponents condemn it, asserting that law discriminates against Israel’s minority communities. Much of the opposition stems from political overtones and a failure to understand the reason for the Law’s passage and how it impacts Israeli society as a whole.
14. Tehran continued to destabilize the region and threatened the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia, utilizing its proxies in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.
15. The 7-year civil war in Syria is winding down, with Bashar Hafez al-Assad remaining in power as President of that country.
16. The terrorist organization, ISIS (also known as “Islamic State”) was widely defeated in Syria, although it remains active in other locations.
17. With the defeat of ISIS in Syria, U.S. President Trump decided to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, much to the satisfaction of Iran, Russia and Turkey, as well as Syria.
18. The “PA” refuses to have anything to do with the Trump administration and continues to pay terrorists and their families for the consequences of their anti-Israel activity.
19. On-going rocket and missile fire from Gaza into the southern communities in Israel, including an extensive rocket barrage of some 400 projectiles in November.
20. Israel’s Minister of Defense, Avigdor Liberman, resigned over disagreements following the November events concerning Israel’s response to the attacks from Gaza.
21. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came under investigation for possible corruption (charges of bribery and breach of trust), including his receiving a gift from a billionaire of expensive cigars (“Cigar-Gate”?).
22. Netanyahu called for new elections, which will take place in April, 2019.
23. Immigration to Israel is up.
24. WE’RE STILL HERE!
Was that ALL the news? Far from it. We had the excellent, the very good, the good, the less than good, the bad, the very bad and the worst. But, we made it through another year, with successes and failures, with gains and losses, with tears of joy and of sorrow.
Not the least of these events is the recent missile fired from Syria this week, which landed in a coastal area north of Tel Aviv and south of Haifa, resulting in an immediate military response by Israel.
And, the worst of the worst – the tiniest victim of “Palestinian” hatred and terrorist attack: A little boy, born prematurely, who lived only four days after his mother was shot in a drive-by shooting while waiting for a bus. Her husband was also wounded, along with others. They remained in the hospital and were not even able to attend the funeral of their infant son, whose young life ended before it began. One writer expressed it thus: “Until Israel negates the PA and calls it what it really is…never a partner…always an enemy…nothing will have changed. Nothing will have been learned.” (see The Shimon and Levi Option).
So, what about Netanyahu, the dissolution of the Knesset and the call for new elections? In a nutshell, it is probably going to be one of the most important elections in Israeli history. More on this to follow.
As we approach a new civil year, please keep my youngest son, who is serving in the north, in your prayers for protection, wisdom and strength.
What can we say about all of the above? If God is for us, who can be against us?
“You have crowned the year with Your goodness”. (Psalm 65:11 – Ee-tar-tah shnat tovatecha)
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness and her salvation like a torch that is burning.
The nations will see your righteousness and all kings your glory;
And you will be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will designate.
You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD and a royal diadem in the hand of your God…
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth…
Go through, go through the gates, clear the way for the people; Build up, build up the highway, remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples.
Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth,
Say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your salvation comes; behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.” And they will call them, “The holy people, the redeemed of the LORD”; and you will be called, “Sought out, a city not forsaken.” (Isaiah 62:1-3, 6-7, 10-12)
May the new civil year 2019 bring you the blessings of good health, wisdom and grace and favor in the sight of God and man.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.