This should be rather simple.
What is a capital?
Answer: It is a city in a country where the government is situated, including official residences of its president or prime minister, its Supreme Court and its legislative branches.
What’s so hard about that? Really, nothing.
In this world of chaos, believe it or not, there are 124 nations which actually have border disputes, and some are occupying disputed territory. Yet 123 have chosen their own capital without any question from the rest of the world. Only Israel doesn’t have a capital—that is, a capital recognized by the world.
Its appointed capital, Jerusalem, also has leaders, officials, administrators, politicians, advisors, lawyers, lobbyists, Knesset committees, policy-makers, buildings, offices and even window-washers, fully functioning with regular work hours.
But for the world, this place does not exist. So, ambassadors appointed to serve in Israel dutifully rent a place to live and open their embassy offices in Tel Aviv. If they want to meet with Israeli officials, then their drivers gas up and take their occupants up to Jerusalem. When meetings end, the driver picks up his boss for a two-hour drive in heavy traffic, back to his home in a Tel Aviv suburb.
So, why this game of make-believe?
Only one explanation: This is a spiritual war.
The “why” is so clear. The world is in a battle between good and evil. Between the Bible and the Koran. Between the God of Israel and the god of this world.
The strategy of Satan has always been to replace God. And the number one place to do it is in Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah foretold that “when the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land…” it is at this time that Satan, together with his followers, will raise himself up against God, only to be ultimately defeated. Isaiah 14:14-16 reads:
“I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of the congregation… I will make myself like the Most High.”
When Yeshua the Messiah descends on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and His Jewish people say, “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!” it will be all over.
Having many God-fearing members, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly voted in 1995 that the United States acknowledge Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Bill Clinton was president at the time. Even though he had previously said he would support Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, he didn’t like the new law at all, and actually never signed it. Obviously embarrassed to veto it in a nation with many Bible believers, he just let it become law by default to show his disapproval.
In the 2000 election campaign, George W. Bush clearly promised to move the embassy and attacked Clinton for failing to deliver on his promise. But Bush did not keep his promise either.
THE UN DOESN’T GET IT
The war of Islam against Israel is not about the division of land. It is a war for the extermination of Israel, and Jerusalem is central to its strategy.
The god of this world, who certainly dominates the United Nations, has allied itself, almost from day one, with the Palestinian cause. With its millions and billions of dollars it spends annually, it literally spews out propaganda against Israel and is busy educating the world with a new history about Palestinians living in Palestine for thousands of years. Truly fake history. Without a doubt, the god of this world has worked incessantly to make sure the ancient city of Jerusalem never becomes the accepted capital of Israel.
The UN completely ignores the fact that wherever there is Muslim rule, there is no freedom of religion—or even normal human rights. During the fourteen years “moderate” Jordan ruled East Jerusalem, no Jew could come to the Western Wall to pray. In fact, no Israelis could enter Judea and Samaria and their ancient capital city. In fact, Jordan utterly destroyed the synagogues and Jewish institutions in Jerusalem where Jews had lived for many centuries.
And so Israel has been, in the eyes of the world, without a capital. Until Trump. From Israel’s viewpoint, President Trump’s strategy in presenting his decision was prudent and reasoned. He didn’t use the words “undivided Jerusalem,” a term that would automatically generate rage among Palestinians. He didn’t have to. He understands, as Europeans don’t, that Israel will never accept a divided Jerusalem again. Nor will they hand over the Western Wall or the Temple Mount where the Holy of Holies once stood. Do you recall that recently the UN gave the Western Wall and the Temple Mount to the non-existent nation of Palestinians?
Neither did Trump mention anything about the borders of Jerusalem. And he said he would accept a two-state solution, if both sides agreed. (Sure.) Nevertheless, to do his part, he has sent his son-in-law on a mission to make the ultimate deal. Hopefully they both understand it is a hopeless assignment.
A recent article by Barry Shaw was titled, “Why Jared Kushner is on a fool’s mission.” To turn a dysfunctional, corrupt, rejectionist, ideological, violent Palestinian political divide into a peace-loving nation is beyond the pale. The establishment of a dysfunctional Palestinian state would soon be annexed by Hamas—the terrorist organization created for one single reason—to eradicate Israel. That is not a panacea for peace. We pray that the Trump family totally gets it.
As for Israel, the government has spent years making sure Jerusalem will remain a united city. It has filled both west and east parts of the city with government buildings, industry and housing, not to speak of nearly 600,000 Jewish Israelis—making it impossible to separate. On the other hand, Allah will never give up his claim to “ascend on high.”
Anyone who has picked up a Bible or a history book on the Middle East would find that the rightful owner of Jerusalem is the ancient people of Israel. It is God’s city. The Holy of Holies is the center of Jewish passion and heritage. For Christians who love the Bible and the Jewish people, much of the New Testament takes place in Jerusalem—including the death and resurrection of Yeshua. President Trump is on the right side of history.
EUROPE DOESN’T GET IT
Unfortunately, Europe’s rulers are far from the Bible, and thus the God of the Bible. Britain, France, and Germany have positioned themselves as the strongest of deniers of the reality of Jerusalem’s ancient capital belonging to the ancient Jewish people.
What do they care that the Old Testament mentions Jerusalem and Zion 661 times? That the New Testament mentions them 156 times? That the Koran mentions them zero times?
Neither do Europeans understand that appeasement of Islamic rulers brings more violence—even after 70 years of experience.
Israel’s most serious attempt to make peace with the Palestinians resulted in the Oslo Agreement. Seven years later, Yasser Arafat’s wife admitted on Dubai TV that Arafat confided in her that he was about to start a national insurrection because he did not want his only daughter to grow up knowing that her father had agreed to a peace agreement with Israel. It was the bloodiest Intifada ever.
Europe also chooses to forget that Israel’s evacuation of twenty-one Jewish villages from Gaza birthed Hamas. Its evacuation of southern Lebanon birthed Hezbollah.
The EU forgets the reality of history: In 3,000 years, the Jews are the only people for whom Jerusalem has ever been the capital of their national homeland. Muslims had 1,200 years of opportunities to make it their capital, but they never did.
The rulers of Europe no longer promote even a Christian culture. Blinded, they cannot see that Islam is overtaking their continent. Europe is on the wrong side of history. God’s Word still stands when He told Abraham, “I will curse those who curse you.”
They are still living in a fantasy world.
A NATION OF HAPPY CAMPERS
Israelis are elated! Even the leftleaning Labor party head, Avi Gabbay, declared, “preserving a ‘united’ Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty is more important than clinching a peace deal with the Palestinians.” He praised U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and said over ninety percent of Israelis “yearn for a united Jerusalem.” In light of this, he said, “A united Jerusalem is even more important than peace.”
Most astounding, a Kuwaiti writer, Abdullah Al-Hadlaq, recently said on Kuwaiti TV that Israel was an independent and legitimate sovereign state, and that there was no occupation, but rather “a people returning to its promised land.”
Kuwait is one of the Arab nations that does not recognize Israel—let alone Jerusalem!
“Like it or not,” Al-Hadlaq said, “Israel is an independent sovereign state. It exists, and it has a seat at the United Nations, and most peace-loving and democratic countries recognize it. The group of states that do not recognize Israel are the countries of tyranny and oppression,” he continued.
In signs of other gently warming ties, a Bahraini delegation visited Israel right after the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. There are reports that Bahrain is on a path to normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel. It is well-known that Saudi Arabia is working together with Israel because of the mortal threat to them from Iran. It appears they understand more than the Europeans do.
While Arab leaders continue to pay lip service to the Palestinian cause, it has slipped in importance, displaced by the Arab Spring uprisings, the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the threat of the Islamic State, and especially Iran’s race for regional dominance.
The long and the short of it is that President Trump had to have guts. Daring and nerve. Courage to stand up against the world. But people like Franklin Graham understood the spiritual implications. He told CNS News, no president in his lifetime had taken such a “strong, outspoken stand for the Christian faith” with the exception of President Trump, and that he needs our prayers.
HOW I FELT ON DECEMBER 6, 2017
I know many millions of believers felt like I did as I wrote a Facebook post right after we heard the news about Jerusalem:
Can you believe? I can hardly express my feelings as we sat in front of the TV and heard President Trump state that his government was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. First, I felt tremendous relief—not only for Israel, but also for the U.S. I believe God will bless Trump for this act. Of course I am not saying that he will have no more trials and tribulations, but that God will keep His promise to bless those who bless Israel.
Secondly, it was clear that we were experiencing a day that will go down in the history books. Trump will always be remembered for declaring the 3,000-year-old city of Jerusalem to be the capital of the Jewish State.
I sat there savoring the moment—that I had lived to see Israel become a state, (actually I heard the news on the radio at age 7!) then was alive to see Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria come back into the hands of their rightful owners in 1967, and am now witnessing Jerusalem being recognized by the U.S. President. One thing I am sure of: it was America’s evangelicals that counseled and encouraged Trump to make this leap that no other president dared to do.
Was God’s hand in this? Our daughter, Shani, brought it to our attention that Trump made this declaration 70 years and 7 days after the UN voted to accept the new-born State of Israel! Interesting times.
This article originally appeared in Maoz Israel Report, January 2018, and reposted with permission.