Happy Birthday Israel
Israel’s achievements over the past 64 years are remarkable, but its continued struggle to remain the sovereign homeland of the Jewish people keeps its leaders from being able to fully enter into the joy of independent statehood.
The relative peace that Israelis have experienced in recent years is being tested, now, by threats to Israel’s security and stability. Terrorist attacks along its southern border; land breaches; and deteriorating diplomatic relations with neighboring countries that want to isolate Israel, are some of the challenges the Jewish State faces.
The discovery of huge gas reserves off the Mediterranean Coast will make Israel energy-independent in the years to come. Economically, Israel will thrive as one of the world’s largest exporters of natural gas. But, today, hostile neighboring countries such as Turkey and Lebanon have threatened Israel’s commercial gas explorations with Cyprus. Israel is developing a search-and-rescue pact with Cyprus which will lead to air and naval maneuvers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Part of this is seen as a way of Israel providing security for itself and Cyprus as both nations explore national gas fields off their coasts.
While Israel waits to profit from its own natural gas finds, Egypt has recently cut off all supplies of natural gas to Israel, in defiance of its peace treaty with the Jewish State. The Israeli government has had to dramatically increase electricity prices to the general public, and has warned of shortages this summer due to the reduction of natural gas imports.
Israel’s ability to ride the natural gas “storm” with its hostile neighbors, while developing its own natural gas resources, along with its new partnership with Cyprus, will be an economic and security challenge for the Jewish State over the next few years.
RELATIONS WITH EGYPT
New rocket attacks and ambushes against Israeli cities have been conducted by terrorists operating out of the Sinai. This has created mounting tensions between Israel and Egypt’s ruling military power.
Despite Egypt’s attempts to crackdown on terrorists and arms smuggling, the Sinai continues to be a haven for Al-Qaeda sympathizers. In addition, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and radical Palestinian groups are receiving vast amounts of weapons and missiles, being transported from Iran and Libya through the Sinai to the Gaza Strip.
The Sinai Peninsula will continue to be a hot spot for the IDF, which is a worrying development for Israel’s leaders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Israeli engineers to build a large fence along Israel’s porous border with Egypt, hoping it will keep terrorists from infiltrating into Israeli southern cities, such as Eilat.
Meanwhile, all candidates running for the Egyptian presidency have issued anti-Israel statements, and the new Egyptian Parliament is loaded with a majority of Islamists who have spoken negatively towards the Jewish State.
Prospects for a continued peace with Egypt may look promising in the near future, but in the long-run, the Israeli government believes that the peace treaty will be challenged. Therefore, the IDF is preparing its Southern Command for a future military conflict with Egyptian forces along Israel’s southern border.
Israel’s advances in its partnerships with NATO countries have been marred by Turkey’s attempt to block Israel’s greater involvement with NATO. When Israel wants to participate in military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey continues to try to prevent Israel’s inclusion, in an effort to isolate the Jewish state. Deteriorating relations with Turkey have caused Israeli leaders to scramble for new European and Middle East partnerships. Israel is looking to forge diplomatic relations with countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania in order to offset the damage caused by the Turkish government towards Israel.
WALLS AND FENCES
Not only is Israel building a fence along its porous border with Egypt, it is also building a two kilometer concrete wall along its border with Lebanon. And, it is building another fence along its border with Syria. Israel is intent on keeping infiltrators from breaching its borders.
Last year, during Nakba Day in May, 100 Palestinian demonstrators managed to infiltrate Israel. The protestors ran to a Druse village on the Golan and put a stake in the ground with the Palestinian flag raised. This year, Israel is preparing for more demonstrations along its borders, training IDF soldiers to stop protestors from entering Israel. Border clashes are expected to increase as Israel’s hostile neighbors try to take land from the Jewish State without a peace agreement.
THE GREATEST THREAT TO ISRAEL’S SOVEREIGNTY AND STABILITY
Netanyahu has managed to get the international community to put Iran on its foreign policy agenda. U.S. and EU mediators are attempting to convince the Persian State to stop pursuing nuclear military capability. So far, sanctions have had some effect, but Iran continues to try and build a bomb that they have threatened to use against Israel.
Already, Iran has five tons of low enriched uranium on-hand. It has enriched 100 kilograms to 20%. This means that Iran now has enough fission material to create several nuclear weapons. It’s just a matter of time before Iran reaches the “breakout” point where it can quickly advance to military nuclear capability. Israel is concerned that Iran is hiding much of its operations underground, so that IDF forces will not be able to easily detect or destroy Iran’s nuclear military facilities in the future.
Israel still talks of war, but is sitting and waiting for the international community to dialogue with Iran in hopes that sanctions and threats will cause the Iranian leadership to stop pursuing its nuclear military ambitions…an unlikely prospect.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
Despite the lack of security and stability that Israelis face in the future, the freedom of having a nation of their own gives them a strong cause for celebration. Those who grew up in Israel, as well as those who have immigrated to the land of their forefathers, understand that they are all part of an amazing tapestry that has been woven together to form the world’s only Jewish State. Nothing can take that joy away from them as they, collectively, join together in remembering 64 years of independence.
“Your eyes shall see, and you shall say, 'The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel.'” Malachi 1:5
Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues in Israel and the nations.
(c) 2012 Messianic Vision all rights reserved. This article is not reproducible except with permisson from Messianic Vision.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.