Peace and Safety Like Never Before
By Todd Strandberg
The state of Israel has never had a time when it has been more tranquil. Since the nation was founded in 1948, it has been under almost constant threat of war, terrorism, economic sanctions and internal political unrest.
The forces that hate Israel suffered a major defeat in the election of Donald Trump. His key policies toward the Jewish state are still unknown, but Trump will mostly like mean a sharp reversal of the icy relations that currently exist between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
While running for office, Trump has said he would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Recent reports show that he intends to fulfill this promise. Trump senior aide Kellyanne Conway said, moving the embassy is a “very big priority” for Trump. She also said, support for Israel was integral to Trump’s agenda.
The threat of terrorism in Israel has declined with the collapse of what has been called the “Stabbing Intifada;” an unorganized effort to spread fear amongst the Israelis with a series of stabbings. According to Shin Bet, between 1 October 2015 and 1 October 2016 there was a total of 166 stabbing attacks and 89 attempted stabbings. The effort is now seen as suicidal because only 5 Israeli security personnel have been killed while 102 Palestinian attackers have died.
The campaign to boycott Israel is another failure. The reason for the boycotts is to protest against Israeli policies toward Palestinians. Various liberal organizations have somehow gotten the idea that Palestinians are being mistreated, and they want to apply “economic leverage” to force Israel to do something crazy—like tear down its West Bank security barrier. Since most Israeli index funds are up 40 percent over the past four years, the boycott has caused investors to miss out on healthy financial returns.
Israel’s relations with her Arab neighbors has become very positive. Now that Egypt is run by a military general, “Egyptian-Israeli relations are today at their highest level in history,” so says Nathan Thrall, a Jerusalem-based senior analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), a research organization.
Last week, Netanyahu embarked on a landmark visit to two Muslim-majority nations, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. It is historically significant because no Israeli leader has traveled to the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia in 25 years. With Syria distracted with civil war, there has been little protest from that old enemy.
The only active concern for Israel is Iran. It’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, while speaking at a conference in Tehran, said that Israel will be “destroyed” if Trump sparks war in the Middle East. Since Iran is always talking about Israel’s doom, the threat is just words.
The political environment of Israel has become very stable. Prime Minister Netanyahu has strengthened his hold onto power by adding religious parties to his coalition. The soon departure of Obama will free the prime minister from having to worry about negative comments coming from the White House.
There is now a general feeling of peace and safety here in America. The stock market has been soaring—with the Dow Jones pushing near to the 20,000 milestone. Even though stocks are at very high valuations, the folks on Wall Street are cheering proposals to cut corporate taxes and ramp up fiscal stimulus.
It’s not like all our problems have been resolved. America still has a crushing debt load; with the Federal deficit about to go over the $20 trillion level. Many of the banks in Europe are on the brink of collapse. Russia and China are becoming more aggressive with many of their neighbors, but still we have this general feeling of all is well.
As an end-time watcher, this period of historic calm has me wondering if it is a sign of our Lord’s nearness. Jesus said the time of His return to rapture His Church would take place at a time of when people have a general feeling of peace and safety. An environment of carelessness would allow Him to come like a “thief.” Since this time of peace and safety cannot last very long, we will soon find out it is an indication of the Rapture.
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).