Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Is It Time To Take Ezekiel Serious?

In the midst of a so-called Arab spring in which Western leaders and diplomats would have us believe that a new wave of democratic enlightenment is on the cusp of emerging brilliantly across the Middle East and throughout the Islamic and Arab world lies the truth of the matter -- the Middle East and the Arab Islamic world is on the verge of bringing about a level of chaos the likes the world hasn’t seen since the first great Islamic Jihad began over 1300 years ago.

Leading this new Islamic revolution isn’t Syria, Libya or even Egypt or Iraq. Taking the lead is an all-too familiar player on the world scene, a non-Arab nation by the name of Iran, which until the year 1935 CE was known as the Persian Empire. This great and antiquated power of days gone by has been slowly gaining its strength, resources and influence throughout the Islamic world since the Ayatollah Khomeini launched his revolution against the infamous and Western-backed Shah of Iran nearly 40 years ago.

Khomeini has been dead since 1989 but the Islamic Revolution he spearheaded and fomented those many years ago has rippled throughout the world bringing a corrupted view of the Quran and giving full expression to the violent undercurrent of Islam to those most willing to take their faith in Allah and their hatred for Jews and the West, as well as anything less than Sharia Law, to the boiling point of pure outward and aggressive destructiveness.

Behind the scene like mad men hidden just out of sight from full view is the political antagonists plotting, scheming, poking at Iran’s soft spots with the stick of funds, technology, training and support for its militaristic and insatiable desire for a nuclear weapon to be used against Israel with the eventual goal of nuclear terrorism within the very borders of the United States. Those mad men just off camera are a shaky but necessary alliance between Russia and China, hoping to accomplish through Islamic Jihad and terrorism what each of those two great super powers has failed to do for decades via propaganda, military intrigue, spy-craft and economics i.e., destroy the United States, the European Union, NATO and the worldwide financial machine called capitalism.

For many years, going back to the Soviet Union era the allied help given to a Shah-less Iran by that former Soviet regime was no great secret. It was open and often flaunted into the face of both NATO and the United States. The buffer zone that prevented a full scale use of that massive Soviet involvement in the region was the pro-Western country of Turkey. In these early days of the 21st Century the world has seen the Turkish support of its Western allies begin to erode to the point where now diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel are all but gone, which has led to a real cooling off of public diplomatic favor between the U.S. and Turkey. Now with the emergence of China into Iran and a reinvigorated Russia under the strong-armed tactics of Putin and the introduction of the nuclear threat from Iran a whole new picture is coming into view for the already extremely volatile region that could send the entire world spiraling into worldwide conflagration at the drop of a hat. I have spent a great deal of my 64 years on this planet watching the unfolding story in the Middle East. Partly because of a desire to understand the depth of feelings coursing through the hearts and minds of the people who live there, partly because of my own Middle Eastern heritage and partly because of the time I was able to live in some of the regions now familiar to so many who watch the nightly news. I have spent nights under the skies in the lands of the Middle East staring up at the heavens, listening to the chirping of locusts out in some far off desert settlement, hearing the occasional bleating of a sheep or grunt of a camel and I often caught myself wondering why, with all this beauty, why those with the greatest amount of intelligence and heart couldn’t find a way to share in its beauty together. Especially since those fighting over it are all blood related going back millennia. These aren’t the Hatfields and McCoys, they are the Ishmaelites and the Yitzakites, blood brothers, kin. In fact, the only element spearheading this age-old feud is somebody not even part of the family but has inched their way into the mix, stirring up trouble by confusing the issue with religion instead of blood-ties, that somebody is the non-Arab nation of Iran.

Persia (Iran) has been a thorn in the side of both Israel and most Arab speaking nations for centuries. In our time the only commonality between Iran and Arab nations is their common religion of Islam and the Islam preached by Iran wasn’t the most acceptable form of belief of the religion until most recently under the control of the Iranian cleric's direction. Islam has had it moments of great intolerance, but for centuries, particularly during what has been called the Golden Age it led the world in science, medicine, literature, opulence and especially tolerance. In an age when Europe was under the darkened period of Papal abuses and monarchial treachery, the conquest of Islam into Spain and Western Europe actually brought in a period of intellectual enlightenment where both Jew and Gentile were able to thrive without fear of inquisition. Sadly, that more enlightened form of Islam died out when the Arabs were driven back out of Europe. What we have today is not that Islam but a perverted Islam led by minds driven by hatred and darkness as dark and barren as those of Dark Ages Catholicism. Minds driven by madness, men like Osama Bin Laden, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, aka “Little Hitler.”

The world now stands at a precipice. Decisions are being made by world political, economic and religious leaders that will affect everyone and those making these decisions are not accountable to anyone but themselves and their agenda. Once again, I have starred into the crystal ball of human events and what I see is no longer murky or obscured from plain view. I am a spiritual man, I am a Jew but I am not a religious man. And though I’ve spent many years as a rabbi studying what the ancients had to say, what I see in that crystal ball of my own mind is not necessarily the reflected view of my fellows within today’s Judaism, but it is what appears the most likely given all that has occurred on the world’s circuit since May 1948 and it all centers on the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and all those Arab blood brothers, as well as all those intent on doing Israel harm.

In the future, the very near future, what I see is Russia no longer hiding behind the facade but coming to the fore as the main aggressor against Israel trailing behind on its coat-tails will be Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon and Libya. China will take advantage of the chaos and amass a huge army. They will take the opportunity to gain a foothold in the oil rich region as the Chinese need and hunger for much needed energy resources finally surpasses their reluctance to enrage the West. Joining forces with Russia will be many remnants of the old Soviet Union that comprised mostly muslim countries in the regions of the Caucasus, countries like Uzbekistan (formally part of the old Persian Empire), Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kuyrgystan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and others caught between Russia and the Middle East. Turkey will no longer sit idly by as an ally of the West but will join forces with Russia, either with actual troops or by allowing passage through its country of Russian and former Soviet country troops and munitions, something it would not allow America to do when it sought permission during the Iraq War against Saddam Hussain’s regime by President George W. Bush.

I can easily visualize this massive alignment of troops, tanks, aircraft and other battlements converging onto the foothills of Jerusalem. The bigger question is - why? Why would such a massive undertaking be needed to invade a country that in its narrowest part is only 11 miles wide. What is so strategic about Israel in this modern age of computers, advanced technology, aerospace and supersonic transportation? What is the draw? Then it dawned on me. This cannot happen now. There is far too much antagonism in the region. Everyone is expecting something like this could happen so Israel, the United States, NATO and all those who are tied by treaty to the protection of Israel are armed to the teeth, standing watch and ready for immediate and total retaliation should some kind of real threat of imminent destruction happen. That is one reason why the threats of a maniac like Ahmadinejad, while taken seriously, can be somewhat taken for what they currently are, the ravings of a bonafide lunatic. This ultimate and realistic threat against Israel and the West cannot happen in today’s current political environment. So, what would it take for my mental crystal ball scenario to become a reality?

There is an old Jewish prophecy that is not talked about much by most of my fellow rabbis, either because they don’t get it, have never read it, or view it as a metaphor for something else completely. I have chosen to take it literally because it is the the only thing that makes absolute sense if what I have said above is even vaguely accurate. The portion I am speaking of is found in the Jewish writings of the Tanakh known as the prophetic writings of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was an old Jewish prophet who lived over 2500 years ago during a time of great Jewish persecution by the Babylonians. HaShem (one of our names for G-d) gave the prophet a vision of what would occur at some much later time in Israel’s future. The prophet was told that there would come a time when all the towns in Israel would be “open towns,” with gates “lacking bars” in which the Jewish people would finally be living during a real period of peace, tranquility in “unwalled villages” “living secure.” It got me to thinking that if this were a true statement then it would have to refer to a time period that has yet to happen because in the entire history of the Jewish people, going all the way back to Abraham himself, the Jew has never lived securely in the Land of Israel. It has always been completely surrounded by enemies which required constant vigilance on the part of its citizens with barred gates, walled towns, check points with armed soldiers, etc. But here, according to this old 2500 year old prophet is spoken of a time when Israel will be at peace, for the first time ever, with all those who were formally its enemies. And, according to this same prophecy, it is at this very time that Russia and all its Arab and Islamic allies will take to marching up against Israel and its “unwalled towns” and “unbarred gates.” Something magnificent and unheard of must occur before my invasion scenario can occur - Israel will get a peace treaty with its neighbors, including Iran, that it believes is truly binding, so much so that the citizens of this tiny Jewish State will, for the first time in its 4000 year history feel secure enough in the region to let down its guard and feel secure.

We have been witness to the re-birth of the Jewish State, the renewed rise of Islamic Jihad, the Arab spring and the slow decline of Western influence over the region. Therefore, if the scenario pictured above is true then the next thing on the agenda to keep our eyes wide open for is some kind of peace treaty set down that will be so binding and so thorough that Israel, its leadership, its people and the world at large both Gentile, Jewish and peace loving Arabs will have unlimited confidence in its ability to provide a real and lasting peace to a region troubled by war and death for over 10,000 years. When that treaty is signed, and you will know when it is the one I am referring to because the world will rejoice like it never has, then know that “when they shall say peace and safety, then sudden destruction will be upon them.”

But, what did the old prophet Ezekiel predict would be the final outcome of Russia, China and their allies as they presume such an adventure? I’ll let him say it in his own words first heard 2500 years ago on the banks of a river in old Babylon (Iraq):

“I will then summon the sword against him throughout My mountains and every man’s sword will be turned against his brother.”

It won’t be a pretty sight. But, in the end, Israel will still be standing and all those who presumed to come against the Land will be laid desolate. It’s a damn shame they couldn’t just heed the words of Mr. Rodney King - “Can’t we all just get along?”

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