Sunday, October 19, 2014
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Inside Washington

What happens in the halls of national government – for better or for worse – can dictate the future course of America. Along with your fellow Prayer Team members, you are to be constantly and fervently interceding for all the men and women who serve in Congress, for your military leaders in the Pentagon, and for the President of the United States, his cabinet and administration.

“Inside Washington” will equip you to do just that … with reports on the nation’s leaders and the decisions they’re considering … or have already made. We’ll examine the implications for the nation, and call you to specific prayer for those needs.

Washington, Tel Aviv Exchange Rebukes 

Inside Washington

But U.S.-Israel alliance remains strong

By Nikolas Grosfield

An enemy’s insult is worthless. A friend’s insult is painful. Insults between American and Israeli leaders are infamous.

Recently a city official in Jerusalem approved the construction of a new housing development in East Jerusalem. Palestinians live in much of that part of the city, and the move is certain to grow friction between Arabs and Israelis. The United States often condemns new Jewish settlements in predominantly Palestinian areas, and the White House said this project would undermine Israel’s stated goal of peace with the Palestinians, even in the eyes of Israel’s “closest allies.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem should all be able to purchase property anywhere in the city. He said the White House criticism “baffled” him, and said it went “against American values.” This phrase prompted many media sources to paraphrase him as calling the rebuke “un-American.”

The U.S. Government has been crying “wolf” for a long time. It critiques Israeli settlements, but it does not stop them. Of course, Israel is a sovereign nation, so maybe America cannot halt them anyway. But endless complaining sounds weak, so Washington needs to apply actual pressure to stop the settlements, or else it needs to accept them and move on. Either way, America could use the settlements to accomplish peace negotiations, but the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama failed to do this.

For his part, Netanyahu has spent many years in America and alongside America fighting for his country. But he is still not an American, so it might be beyond him to define “American values.” Such judgment is best reserved for insiders, not outsiders. Besides, while Jews and Judaism long predate America, America long predates the current 66-year-old nation of Israel. Founding Fathers like George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson had no Israel to support or oppose. But they did resist foreign governments that imposed hardships on them without their representation.

But if Netanyahu stirred the pot a little, he has no plans to tip the pot over. He affirmed Obama’s and his “mutual respect” for each other, adding that they discuss “real things openly, as befitting real allies.” Moreover, he praised Obama’s efforts to attack ISIS in Iraq and Syria, saying, “ISIS has got to be defeated.” The Islamist group has mustered tens of thousands of fighters, murdered hundreds of civilians, including men, women, and children among the local Christian and Yazidi minorities, and occupied large areas of land since mid-2013.

Thus the alliance and many shared interests between America and Israel remain clear and strong. But both parties need to work harder to maintain good relations with each other—and to achieve peace with the Palestinians and across the Middle East.

Please pray for:

The Old Testament commands Jews to love God and their neighbors, which Jesus reaffirmed. It also tells them to resist foreign gods while simultaneously loving strangers, which the New Testament epistles also prescribe. Israelis and Jews today need to do these things as much as ever. But mostly they need to meet and follow their promised Messiah.

Nikolas Grosfield is a writer and rancher. He has written more than 120 articles for a variety of media outlets, lived five years in the Middle East and East Africa, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Cedarville University. A proud Montanan, Nik is a child of God, husband of Elsbeth, and father of Oliver.

Member Comments

The following expressions and comments are from our members and do not necessarily represent or reflect the biblical, world views or opinions of the Presidential Prayer Team
  1. Jim says:

    Well done, Nikolas. We will pray for the Holy Spirit to move and the Gospel spread throughout that important region of the world. PS We continually pray for you and your wife.

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