It was only 15 years ago that I was conducting research for my first book on anti-Semitism, They Have Conspired Against You. This led me to an in-depth study of the 83rd Psalm written by Asaph who was a contemporary of King David.
Psalm 83 spoke of many enemies of Israel and of the pleading of Asaph with God for His miraculous intervention on behalf of the Jewish people. Of the several points made by this short psalm, I was intrigued by the ten people groups who were described as conspiring against Israel.
In digging a little deeper, I realized that this covenant of nations had never taken place in the history of Israel. I also thought that there was a strong possibility that Asaph’s usage of the sentence: “They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more” could very possibly be a literary device to express emphasis in despair. Maybe Asaph wanted to express that Israel had enemies–a true statement–and for emphasis, he described all her neighbors as the enemies, akin to someone with a few foes saying:”The whole world hates me!”
Of course, an equally valid interpretation could be that it is a future attack on Israel by a confederation of countries and/or states. I find it fascinating to look at the people described in Psalm 83:6-8: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them, and compare them to modern day countries or people groups. The results could even be too close for comfort.
Edom – Southern Jordan
Ishmaelites – Ishmael was one of the fathers of all the Arabs.
Moab – Central Jordan
Hagarenes – Egypt
Gebal – Lebanon
Ammon – Northern Jordan
Amalek – The Sinai Peninsula
Philistia – The Gaza Strip
Tyre – Lebanon
Assyria – Iraq and parts of Syria
By these standards, Israel finds herself surrounded by enemies who have conspired together to destroy the Jewish state. This would be a likely scenario in light of the fact that eventually the whole world will go against Israel, but we are faced with an inconsistency. There are two countries that have an ongoing peace treaty with Israel in the whole Middle East: Jordan (Edom, Moab and Ammon) and Egypt (Hagarenes). Yet these are listed as enemies of Israel, so how can this be possible? I wonder if the answer could not be found in the events of the last year and the progress of ISIS (Islamic State) in the region? ISIS is continuously making progress in a very volatile region, not to mention their global recruitment over the last year. A quick review of their progress could lead credence to an upcoming fulfillment of Psalm 83:
• ISIS started their bloody takeover campaigns in parts of Iraq and Syria.
• ISIS has also been trying to gain some ground in Northeast Lebanon and Northern Lebanon. The mere idea that Lebanese Christians would praise Hezbollah for fighting ISIS is frightening at best and most likely temporary.
• They even got into the Gaza Strip, giving Hamas a run for their money.
• Of course, they also recently launched an offensive in the Sinai Peninsula. How’s that peace treaty with Israel looking right now? Very shaky if ISIS spreads further into Egypt!
• This leaves us with Jordan and the Iraqi border, which have also been affected.
So there you have it in a nutshell. To an extent, ISIS has infiltrated all the areas listed in Pslam 83, INCLUDING JORDAN AND EGYPT, the only two countries with existing peace treaties with Israel. Asaph might have spoken prophetically and we might be getting really close to seeing the evil confederacy of Psalm 83 being formed. It was almost impossible to fathom that Psalm 83 would have a literal fulfillment 15 years ago. Today and with the advance of the Islamic State, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it took place. And what if it did take place?
While the entire civilized world appears to be in agreement regarding the barbarism displayed by ISIS, it is now becoming obvious that the terrorist group is not being stopped, let alone even contained. It is very surreal and quite puzzling to see ISIS recruits coming from all corners of the world to train under “the black banner of death”. So yes indeed, the grip around Israel is tightening at the hands of ISIS.
Israel has her plate very full with a Hamas ruled Gaza Strip in the south and a Hezbollah ruled Lebanon in the north. The Jewish state has been on high alert since May 14, 1948. They will not provoke but they will certainly respond. They will do it better and faster than the rest of the world because their existence depends on it. To an extent, the rest of the world’s existence also depends on how serious we are about ISIS. But when you hear people such as Richard Barrett, former head of counter-terrorism at MI6 who said that:” We cannot destroy ISIS, so we will have to learn to live with it“, you wonder how serious anybody really is about defeating ISIS? We are not even discussing how Islamic ISIS really is or is not, but we are still faced with a terrorist group that is organized, wealthy, well advertised and very arrogant. The minute that ISIS crosses the line where Israel feels threatened, they [Israel] will respond swiftly and efficiently. No question about it.
We must also keep in mind the rest of Psalm 83 like verse 5 describing the enemies of Israel as the enemies of God Himself:“For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant.” God may or may not intervene between ISIS and the world, but if they [ISIS] go against Israel, I am certain that He will get involved. Yet, there is still time for the enemies of Israel to repent because God might be just but He is also patient as Psalm 83:15-18 says:
So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm.
Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O Lord.
Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish,
That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth
The prophetic hourglass was turned on May 14, 1948 and it is running out of sand in its top section.
It has only been two months since the terrorist attacks in France, which led to the death of 17 people including four Jews in a kosher supermarket on the east side of Paris. Prime minister Manuel Valls delivered an emotional speech punctuated with rightful indignation in front of the French Assemblée Nationale, calling anti-Semitism, “The symptom of a democracy in crisis”.
French President François Hollande vowed to defend France’s Jews when he was recently quoted saying: “Jews are at home in France, it’s the anti-Semites who have no place in the republic, in protecting its Jews, the republic is protecting itself.” In reality, French Jews continue to feel very uneasy in France. The assurance of safety seems to only be a façade. Even with 10,000 troops and police officers deployed all over France in front of key Jewish locations like schools and synagogues, French Jews do not feel properly protected. After all, it wasn’t long after the January attacks that some French soldiers were attacked by a man as they were guarding a Jewish site. Additionally, a Jewish cemetery was vandalized in northern Alsace and over 200 tombstones were destroyed.
French Jews are scared and they are not alone. Other European Jewish communities have joined the French in their feeling of uncertainty. But there is no doubt that France leads the pack when it comes to immigration to Israel.
This unprecedented increase in immigration didn’t just happen because of the Paris attacks of January 2015. To be sure, the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe in general and France in particular has led to an exponential increase in the number of European Jews making Aliyah. But again, France is way ahead of all the other European countries. In 2012, about 2,000 Jewish people left France for Israel followed by 3,120 in 2013 (a 60 percent increase over 2012). Then in 2014, over 7,000 French Jews made Aliyah to Eretz Yisrael, making it the largest Aliyah out of France since the 1970s and the top country for Jewish emigration in 2014( the highest global number in 12 years). We must keep in perspective that this number of over 12,000 Jews out of France over the last three years all happened even before the events of January 2015.
Over 1,000 Jews have already left France for Israel in the first two months of 2015. Numbers could exceed 10,000 by the end of the year. This is of course if no other tragic act of anti-Semitism takes place in France, something I am unfortunately not willing to bet on. Here are some other frightening statistics from the Jewish People Policy Institute:
- At least 15,000 French Jews are expected to make Aliyah by 2016. (possibly as many as 10,000 in 2015)
- The Jewish Agency is planning for up to 120,000 French Jews to move to Israel in the next 4 years.
- By 2030, over half of French Jewry could have made Aliyah.
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky expressed his fears in the summer of 2014 in Paris while the Gaza War was taking place in the Middle East, and French Jews were already leaving in droves. He was quoted saying: “Something historic is happening, it may be the beginning of the end of European Jewry. I think it’s a tragedy for Europe, what is happening in France, the strongest of Europe’s Jewish communities, reflects processes taking place elsewhere in Europe. I keep asking people if Jews have a future in Europe.”
I am afraid that Mr. Sharansky might have been right. We might be witnessing the start of the decline of European Jewry with the departure of the French Jews as some sort of “handwriting on the wall” of western European civilization. The question that I ask myself has to do with the numbers of Jews leaving or planning to leave in the next few years. While a few thousand already create a noticeable demographic shift, if we indeed see up to 100,000 Jews leave France in the next five years or so, we are not talking Aliyah anymore, we are talking exodus.
Not all French Jews will immigrate to Israel. Some will move to America, Canada and even the U.K, but those who choose to make Israel their new home will constitute a formidable demographic and economic challenge to region. Set aside the challenge, Israel will gain a pool of people that will undoubtedly contribute to its further developing. It will be a win/win situation for the French Jews and Israel.
The loser in all this will be Europe. Already demographically circling the drain, Europe cannot afford to lose its Jews. With the Jews still in Europe, we are already seeing the emergence of Eurabia as a result of the Muslim “demographic Jihad” of the last 50 years. If France cannot protect its Jews, it is only a matter of time before other people groups or minorities become a target.
If indeed we are in the infancy stage of a mass European Jewish exodus, there is much more at stake than the loss of a once thriving community. God was not speaking figuratively when He promised Abraham to bless those who bless him and the Jewish people and curse him who curses them (Genesis 12:1-3). God meant every word of it then and He means every word of it today. With its Jews leaving, France becomes even more vulnerable to her enemies. Isn’t it ironic that the very people that many have described as a curse actually are a blessing from God?