Dear friends of Israel:
As a new year begins, it is typical on one hand to look back and recall the events of the past year. On the other hand, one may look forward to the New Year and consider what might lie ahead. For Israel, as a nation, a number of important events took place in the past year, while other things that were anticipated did not occur. The top concern was the potential bombing of the Iranian nuclear reactor for the manufacture of atomic weapons. Some people were virtually certain that this was going to take place. Many people also expected that another war with Hezbollah in Lebanon was going to break out. An event that very few expected, however, did come to pass: Turkey, the previously close ally of Israel, became its opponent. In this regard, looking ahead to the New Year raises the question as to how relations with Turkey will proceed. This question will certainly preoccupy many Israelis, particularly the politicians.
An article entitled, “Why Turkey Will Rise to a Leading Power in the Islamic World” appeared in the Israeli newspaper, Jerusalem Post. The article described how Turkey, under the leadership of Prime Minister Erdogan and the AKP (Party for Justice and Development), changed from a pro-western nation led by a strong, secular, pro-western elite into a nation led by an AKP-loyal, Islamic and anti-western elite. Furthermore, since the constitutional referendum of September 12, 2010, ideological party members of the AKP hold important offices, such as the posts of the high court justices. The new laws now authorize the party to appoint these justices, without requiring a prior confirmation process. In other words, the AKP not only governs Turkey; it controls it. There, where once the pro-western elite strived to gain membership in the EU, the AKP now supports and spreads anti-western and pro-Islamic values in Turkish society. A new, pro-Islamic and anti-western way of thinking now also dominates Turkey’s foreign policy, declaring solidarity with anti-western nations and organizations such as Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.
During the NATO summit meeting in Lisbon at the end of November, all but one member nation voted with Russia that Iran depicts a serious threat to world peace, and they agreed to build a missile defense system with Russia against Iran. The only member nation that contradicted that view was Turkey. They declared that it is not Iran that threatens world peace, but Israel. Once again, Turkey made it clear where it stands.
Meetings like the NATO summit in Lisbon inevitably remind us of Psalm 2, where it is written that the kings and rulers of the earth gather together against the Lord and His anointed one. Why? The answer given in Psalm 2 is that the Lord has installed His King on Zion, His holy hill (verse 6). God’s “foreign policy,” if it can be called that, is somewhat different from that of the rulers of this world. “Therefore,” it is written in verse 10: “you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth” (NIV).
The knowledge that God will finally install his King and set up His Kingdom allows us to look with trust toward the future, in spite of all threats in this world. In this trust in Him who, according to the second Psalm, laughs at the rage of the nations, we look forward to God’s plan for the New Year and thank all of you for your help in carrying forth the work of our Lord.
With heartfelt wishes for blessings in the New Year, greetings of “Shalom” to you from Israel.