Israel moves to fifth election in three years
On June 20th Israel’s weakened coalition government decided to dissolve parliament and call new elections. The vote, expected later this year, could bring about the return of a nationalist religious government led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or another prolonged period of political gridlock. In a nationally televised news conference, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said it wasn’t easy to disband the government, but he called it “the right decision for Israel.”
The election, expected in October or November, would be Israel’s fifth in three years. Bennett has struggled to keep his unruly coalition of eight parties together since it took office one year ago, and defections have left the crumbling alliance without a majority in parliament for over two months.
Bennett formed the eight-party coalition in June 2021 after four successive inconclusive elections. It included a diverse array of parties, from dovish factions that support an end to Israel’s occupation of lands captured in 1967, to hard-line parties that oppose Palestinian independence. It made history by becoming the first Israeli coalition government to include an Arab party.
The alliance made a series of accomplishments, including passing the first national budget in several years and navigating a pair of coronavirus outbreaks without imposing any lockdowns. But eventually it unravelled, in large part because several members of Bennett’s right wing party objected to what they felt were compromises made by him to keep the coalition afloat and his perceived moderation.
Israel, Iran and the nuclear bomb
On 11th June Israel launched its second strike on Damascus airport in less than a week. Using surface to surface missiles it hit weapons depots containing arms just imported from Iran. Runways and the control tower were hit causing the airport to be put out of use for all flights.
This latest Israeli action against Iran in Syria led to a sharp condemnation by the Russian government of Vladimir Putin, which has moved its forces into Syria and now has a controlling influence over what happens there. This could have repercussions for the already tense relations between Moscow and Jerusalem.
Iran has broken the agreement made with the international community over its nuclear programme by shutting down cameras monitoring its nuclear sites in defiance of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA warned that Iran is in the process of installing hundreds of new IR-6 centrifuges at its underground Natanz uranium enrichment plant. The Islamic Republic has already enriched enough uranium up to the 60 percent mark to make a crude atomic bomb, nuclear experts say. The further enrichment of Iran’s uranium hexafluoride gas to the required 90 percent takes only a few weeks, meaning Iran is well on the way to producing a nuclear bomb.
Israel sees this as a threat to its existence. Israeli PM Naftali Bennet has said that the government in Jerusalem reserves the right to end Iran’s nuclear programme through its own direct action. This is not an empty threat and it is becoming increasingly clear that the Israeli military apparatus is currently preparing for a major confrontation with Iran and the bombing of nuclear facilities in the Islamic Republic. A massive air exercise by IAF aircraft took place over the Mediterranean in early June which Jerusalem said was intended to simulate a multiple-front war with Iran.
Israel is also trying to strengthen and expand the anti-Iran coalition with Arab countries, that are also threatened by Iranian aggression. The Gulf countries with which Israel signed peace agreements in 2020 already have Israeli radar and air defence systems. The IDF and Mossad reportedly also have a base in Bahrain, one of Israel’s new peace partners, and this has given Israel another chance to operate closer to the borders of Iran. There are intensive contacts between the IDF and Azerbaijan, a predominantly Muslim country, situated on the western border of Iran. Contacts between Israel and Saudi Arabia are also ramping up, while Bennett made a surprise trip to Abu Dhabi in early June. All this has to do with the increasing likelihood that military action will be taken against Iran.
Iran has responded by saying they are aware of Israel’s plan of action and are waiting for it. It will give them the excuse to wipe Israel off the map.
From the point of view of biblical prophecy Israel will not be wiped off the map as it has to be there in some form until the second coming of Jesus Christ / Messiah. After Messiah returns, far from being wiped off the map, Israel’s borders will be extended to reach the borders promised to Abraham and Jerusalem will become the centre of the good world government of the Messiah (see Isaiah 2.1-4).
If a conflict over Iran’s nuclear programme is about to take place, it may precipitate the War of Gog and Magog, in which an alliance of nations comes against Israel and is supernaturally destroyed by God’s intervention of Israel’s behalf. This army will be led by a power coming from the uttermost north (Russia?) in alliance with many anti-Israel nations including Persia / Iran. It will meet its doom on the mountains of Israel. See Ezekiel 38-39.
EU deal with Israel
The war in Ukraine has created a big problem for the EU. Despite all the grandstanding over Russian sanctions and offers to bring Ukraine into the EU, the cold harsh reality is Europe needs Russia’s fossil fuels. Without Russian oil and natural gas, the lights go out. Industry comes to a screeching halt. Come winter, people freeze. This means, on the world stage, the EU is in a position of weakness in relation to Russia.
Europe therefore is looking for alternatives to Russian gas supply. EU President Ursula von der Leyen visited Israel on June 13-14 to finalise a historic deal between the EU, Israel and Egypt. This will allow Israel to supply trillions of cubic feet of natural gas to Europe, by liquidating it locally from its Leviathan gas field off the coast of northern Israel, and by exporting it via existing Egyptian facilities. Von der Leyen also showed support for the planned pipeline from Israel to supply Eastern Mediterranean gas to Europe (a project from which the Biden administration has withdrawn American support).
This could be the reason that Russia comes down against Israel in the war of Gog and Magog (to take a spoil or plunder – Ezekiel 38.13).
It may also be a factor in the EU becoming a major player in the coming peace deal with Israel, as a leading light in the final world empire of the antichrist (Daniel 9.27).
During her visit to Israel, Ursula von der Leyen made very positive statements about Israel. In a speech at Ben-Gurion University, where she was awarded an honorary degree, she said:
She also said, “Europe and Israel are bound to be friends and allies,” she said, “because the history of Europe is the history of the Jewish people.”
Writing in Israel Today Melanie Philips commented:
Yet von der Leyen implied instead that Europe had always been bound together in friendship with the Jewish people.
No less startling was that Bennett chose to agree with her. He said,
Was Bennett choosing to accept her revisionism in the interests of better relations with the EU? His eagerness for such a development is understandable. But no Jewish leader should ever connive at sanitizing Jewish persecution.
So does this mean the EU is now changing its attitude to Israel? Until now, it has been hostile. It promotes the Palestinian narrative that seeks to delegitimize Israel through lies about its “illegal” settlements and alleged Israel Defence Forces’ aggression; it funds NGOs devoted to harming and destroying Israel; in an aggressive move in 2015 against Israeli “occupation” of the disputed territories, it started to label products from the “West Bank.”
Despite all the warm words in Jerusalem, there’s no sign that this EU hostility is about to ease. For on the same day that von der Leyen was kissing up to Bennett, she stood alongside Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shrayyeh in Ramallah and announced the transfer to the Palestinian Authority of some 214 million euros (about $224 million). This money had previously been frozen because of the incitement against Israel in Palestinian schoolbooks. Now it’s been unfrozen, even though the incitement remains.
Last week, the commission dismissed Israeli documentation showing that six Palestinian NGOs were acting on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; it then resumed funding them. So much for von der Leyen’s pledge to “put the fight against antisemitism at the core of the European Commission’s agenda.”
The Europeans are playing the double game so familiar in the West—pledging support for the Jewish people while empowering Israel’s mortal enemies. Now the global energy crisis is producing a further double game—supporting Israel when it supplies the Europeans with essentials while abandoning Israel in its defence against its existential foes.